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The Meaning of Emoji to Describe Food Experiences in Pre-Adolescents

Department of Agriculture, Food, Environment and Forestry (DAGRI), University of Florence, Via Donizetti 6, 50144 Florence, Italy
Sensometrics and Consumer Science, Instituto Polo Tecnológico de Pando, Facultad de Química, Universidad de la República, Pando, 91000 Canelones, Uruguay
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Foods 2020, 9(9), 1307;
Received: 7 August 2020 / Revised: 11 September 2020 / Accepted: 13 September 2020 / Published: 16 September 2020
Ongoing research has shown that emoji can be used by children to discriminate food products, but it is unclear if they express emotions and how they are linked to emotional words. Little is known about how children interpret emoji in terms of their emotional meaning in the context of food. This study aimed at investigating the emotional meaning of emoji used to describe food experiences in 9–13-year-old pre-adolescents and to measure related age and gender differences. The meaning of 46 emoji used to describe food experience was explored by: mapping emoji according to similarities and differences in their emotional meaning using the projective mapping technique, and linking emoji with emotion words using a check-all-that-apply (CATA) format. The two tasks gave consistent results and showed that emoji were discriminated along the valence (positive vs. negative) and power (dominant vs. submissive) dimension, and to a lower extent along the arousal dimension (high vs. low activation). In general, negative emoji had more distinct meanings than positive emoji in both studies, but differences in nuances of meaning were found also among positive emoji. Girls and older pre-adolescents (12–13 years old (y.o.)) discriminated positive emoji slightly better than boys and younger pre-adolescents (9–11 y.o.). This suggests that girls and older pre-adolescents may be higher in emotional granularity (the ability to experience and discriminate emotions), particularly of positive emotions. The results of the present work can be used for the development of an emoji-based tool to measure emotions elicited by foods in pre-adolescents. View Full-Text
Keywords: pre-adolescents; emotions; arousal; power; emoji; food; projective mapping; emotion words pre-adolescents; emotions; arousal; power; emoji; food; projective mapping; emotion words
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MDPI and ACS Style

Sick, J.; Monteleone, E.; Pierguidi, L.; Ares, G.; Spinelli, S. The Meaning of Emoji to Describe Food Experiences in Pre-Adolescents. Foods 2020, 9, 1307.

AMA Style

Sick J, Monteleone E, Pierguidi L, Ares G, Spinelli S. The Meaning of Emoji to Describe Food Experiences in Pre-Adolescents. Foods. 2020; 9(9):1307.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Sick, Julia, Erminio Monteleone, Lapo Pierguidi, Gastón Ares, and Sara Spinelli. 2020. "The Meaning of Emoji to Describe Food Experiences in Pre-Adolescents" Foods 9, no. 9: 1307.

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