Text Messages Ending With a Period Seem Less Sincere, Study Finds

Dec 10, 2015Uncategorized0 comments

If you end your text messages with a period, you may want to reconsider.

Text messages ending with a period may be grammatically correct, but they come across as insincere, according to a new study published in “Computers in Human Behavior” from researchers at Binghamton University in New York.

While the sample size of 126 college undergraduates certainly isn’t representative of the billions of people around the world who text, the results were still intriguing enough to prove that at least to that subset of the population, punctuation can make all the difference.

The students were given messages that appeared as texts or handwritten notes. Each of the notes contained a statement ending in a period, followed by asking the recipient if they would like to join them for an event. For example: “Dave gave me his extra tickets. Wanna come?”  The recipient then sent back an affirmative one-word answer, which in some cases ended in a period and others did not have any punctuation.

What researchers found was the participants rated the text messages that ended in a period as less sincere than those that did not.

“Texting is lacking many of the social cues used in actual face-to-face conversations. When speaking, people easily convey social and emotional information with eye gaze, facial expressions, tone of voice, pauses, and so on,” Celia Klin, the lead researcher in the study, said in a statement. “People obviously can’t use these mechanisms when they are texting. 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.”

But wait, there’s more!

Klin and her team also found in follow-up research that an exclamation mark is more likely to be seen as sincere.

And there you have it. Period.

By Alyssa Newcomb for abc.com