Using punctuation as a marker of sincerity and affective convergence during texting


Face-to-face communication is a rich, natural form of communication that incorporates multimodal behavioral cues belying meaning and intention. However, computer-mediated communication (e.g., texting) removes many of the multimodal cues in face-to-face communication (e.g., vocal prosody). Recent research has suggested that punctuation might mimic vocal prosody in text (Gunraj et al., 2016), but there is no clear indication of what the overall effects may be. Therefore, the current study investigates the use of punctuation to express intonation. We first replicate Gunraj and his colleagues by showing that a single word ending in a period promotes the appraisal of negative affect. Interestingly, we extend this research by demonstrating that intonational punctuation has the potential to increase social distance, which our preliminary results suggest may occur through processes of emotional contagion and interactive alignment.

Back to Table of Contents