Study: Texts with periods seem insincere

If you are a stickler for punctuation, you should know that sending text messages with periods is making you look like a liar, according to research from Binghamton University.

Researchers had volunteers (all undergrads) read a series of messages that featured one-word responses: "Okay, Sure, Yeah, Yup." Respondents were rated responses followed by periods as less sincere than the same text messages that had no punctuation.

The study did the same comparison with messages presented as handwritten notes but that difference in perception didn't turn up.

"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," said Celia Klin, associate professor of psychology, the lead researcher. "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."

In more recent research, Klin and her team found that people see texts with an exclamation mark as more sincere.

The study was published in November in the journal Computers in Human Behavior.

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