Punctuation marks are crucial in writing. We've known that in our grammar and language classes. Our teachers have even taught us how to convey feelings through writing symbols. After reading this recent study, however, you may forget what you've learned in elementary school. Apparently, appropraite use of punctuation marks bear potential impact on our personal lives.
In a study performed by researchers from the department of psychology at New York's Binghamton University claims, text-based messaging is no place for proper punctuation, unless, you want to be seen as a jerk. Experts conducted a series of experiments with undergraduate students to explore the role of the period in text messages. What they discovered is quite a blow.
The digital world of text messaging may have started to bend the rules of correct writing (c) cbc.ca
The researchers asked the participants to read 16 different conversations in the form of either texts or handwritten notes.
Every exchange included an invitation question (e.g., "Dave gave me his extra tickets. Wanna come?) and an affirmative, one-word response (Sure, Yup, OK, etc.). The group was also asked to rate how "sincere" each reply sounded.
Surprisingly, the experts found that respondents who used periods weren't perceived as smarter than the others who used proper punctuation. Similar observations were noticed with handwritten notes.
"Texts that ended with a period were rated as less sincere than those that did not," reads the abstract of the study, which was publishe in the journal Computers in Human Behavior.
Put a period at the end of text and everyone loses their mind.
Lead researcher, Celia Klin, guessed why punctuation marks can hold so much meaning for digital conversations.
"Texting is lacking many of the social cues used in actual face-to-face conversations," she said in a press release
issued by the university.
"When speaking, people easily convey social and emotional information with eye gaze, facial expressions, tone of voice, pauses, and so on."
"People obviously can't use these mechanisms when they are texting," she continued.
"Thus, it makes sense that texters rely on what they have available to them — emoticons, deliberate misspellings that mimic speech sounds and, according to our data, punctuation."
There were more reactions from people when the study was published online. Some responses on Twitter even claimed, using a period at the end of a text can make you seem like "a jerk," "heartless," or "probably the worst."
The Binghamton psychology team did a follow-up work that has yet to be published. They explored the role of another contentious punctuation mark: the exclamation point.
The study suggests, exclamation point use seem to make messages more sincere, rather than less, as it conveys information about how someone is feeling (enthusiastic, usually, or at least very strongly about something.)
This may mean, if you want to avoid hurting other people's feelings, at least don't forget to include an emoji.