Researchers showed 126 undergraduates a bunch of texts featuring an invitation and a reply. Participants rated replies that were properly punctuated with a period as less sincere, the Washington Post reports.
That perception did not apply to handwritten notes, which were also part of the study. "Texting is lacking many of the social cues used in actual face-to-face conversations. When speaking, people easily convey social and emotional information," lead researcher Celia Klin explains in a press release.
"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." In following up on the study, the results of which were published last month in the journal Computers in Human Behavior, the researchers found that adding an exclamation point to a text reply bestows a higher degree of perceived sincerity on the message.
"Given that people are wonderfully adept at communicating complex and nuanced information in conversations," Klin says, "it's not surprising that as texting evolves, people are finding ways to convey the same types of information in their texts." (This company will send a breakup text to your significant other for $10.)
This article originally appeared on Newser: The Secret to Sincere Texts? Lose the Period
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