When you’re texting and unsure of what to say, an emoji often speaks louder than words. And if you’re the type of person who has a hard time expressing your feelings, the emoji certainly comes in handy. No matter what you’re feeling—happy, sad, goofy, relaxed, etc.— there’s an emoji to go along with it. And the best part? Emoticons make us better communicators. With hundreds of faces to choose from, it’s much harder to send a mixed message!

Aside from spicing up our conversations, why do we use them? The reason is simple: they make us feel good. Interestingly, people react to emoticons in the same way they react to human facial expressions, according to a recent study. For example, the human brain has come to recognize “:-)” as a genuine emotion. And since emojis are a step above symbols—resembling real faces and emotions—they are having an even more powerful impact. Researchers found that using emoticons makes an interaction more enjoyable. In the study, two groups had to solve a task on the computer, and one group was able to communicate with emoticons and other was not. Results indicated that the group with access to emoticons enjoyed the overall experience more than the group without access.


Furthermore, when we see certain emoticons our mood changes. We unknowingly alter our facial expressions to mimic the emoticon’s expression. To build and maintain close relationships, it takes more than just sharing facts. We must also convey our emotions and when we aren’t standing face-to-face, emojis enable us to do just that.

Which emoji is your favorite? Data aggregation website FiveThirtyEight, uncovered which emoji were most frequently used on Twitter. Topping the list were “Hearts,” with “Joy,” “Unamused,” “Heart Eyes,” and “Relaxed” rounding out the top five. Check out their list in its entirety, and see if your go-to emoji are in the top 100.