You’ve Likely Been Using This Emoji Wrong

April 13, 2016 Updated: July 4, 2017

Just about everyone is familiar with this emoji, which looks like an anguished smirk.

A study found that the emoji is often drastically misinterpreted by different people.

The team carried out a survey that asked people to describe how they feel when they see the emoji on a scale from -5 to 5.

“Emojis are used alongside text in digital communication, but their visual nature leaves them open to interpretation. In addition, emoji render differently on different platforms, so people may interpret one platform’s rendering differently than they interpret another platform’s,” a group of researchers from the University of Minnesota found in a recent study.

The vast majority interpreted the “grinning face with smiling eyes” as being negative.

“We asked [the participants] to rate 15 emoji renderings on sentiment, from strongly negative to strongly positive, whether it was angry or said, happy or excited,” Miller told BuzzFeed.

“The study was inspired by some personal experiences,” Miller added. “This particular topic came from the fact that if I wrote something on my phone or browser, I saw different emoji each time I looked.”

GroupLens, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
GroupLens, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

The grinning emoji also looks different when you send it from an Android phone to an Apple phone.

Hannah Miller, the lead author on a paper on emoji miscommunication, said: “Someone described the Google one as ‘blissfully happy’ and the Apple one as ‘ready to fight’ — which actually ended up going in the title of our research paper.”