Amount and diversity of digital emotional expression predicts happiness
Authors: Vuillier, L.
Emotional expression in digital form has become increasingly ubiquitous via the proliferation of computers and handheld devices. Using online questionnaires and chat-based experiments across four studies and 1325 individuals (Study 1A-B and 2A-B), and a large social media dataset spanning 4.9 billion individuals (Study 3), we examine whether digital emotion expression (emojis) predicts happiness at the individual and national levels. Our studies converge on three central findings. First, people use emojis in text-based communication to convey emotional experience. Second, experimental evidence finds that the amount and diversity of emojis increased happiness in social interactions. Third, across 122 countries, higher total amount and greater diversity of emoji usage per capita and per user are associated with higher national happiness during a four-week period. Across levels of analysis, our results suggest that both the amount and diversity of digital emotion expression enhances well-being.