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Does mimicry of emoticons and words foster understanding on What’s App?


Does mimicry of emoticons and words foster understanding on What’s App?

When talking to each other in face-to-face interactions, people spontaneously mimic others’ behaviors, like facial expressions and postures. This mimicry helps to understand each other better and to smoothen interactions (e.g., Stel & Vonk, 2010). In this project you will investigate to what extent mimicry occurs on What’s App and whether this mimicry on What’s App is related to understanding and smooth conversations as well. Another research question within this project may be: do people who lie in a What’s App conversation mimic differently than people who tell the truth?

Type of research


You will ask participants to send in the most recent What’s App conversation and to answer questions about this conversation regarding understanding and smoothness (existing scales). You will code whether emoticons use is mimicked or not and will analyze the overlap in the words used.


Are you interested in this topic for your thesis? Please contact the bachelor thesis coordinator Jan Gutteling (


Stel, M. & Vonk, R. (2010). Mimicry in social interaction: Benefits for mimickers, mimickees and their interaction. British Journal of Psychology, 101, 311-323.

Walther, M., Stel, M., Vries, P.W., Petrov, P., Smith, R., & Young, D. (2018). Can emoticons detect deception? The use of emoticons in (non)deceptive messages on WhatsApp. Manuscript under review (this article can be requested by emailing: )