A new study conducted by researchers from the University of Binghamton in New York revealed that most people find text messages with proper punctuation marks insincere.
Specifically, those who use periods to end their sentences in text messages are often regarded as dishonest by others, PC Mag reported.
The researchers came up with this finding by carrying out a simple test on over 120 participants. During the experiment, the subjects were asked to text-based conversations and handwritten notes. Majority of the samples only focused on simple conversations and subjects between two people. Some of them contained periods or punctuation marks while the others did not.
After the experiment, the participants were asked to rate each sample based on perceived sincerity. Based on the results of the experiment, the messages that contained periods were rated as insincere by majority of the participants. This trend, however, was not seen on the handwritten notes.
Celia Klin, the lead researcher for the study, explained that this might have something to do with people's dependence on using various cues such as voice intonation, facial expressions and eye contact when socially interacting with others.
Generally, these cues cannot be observed in text messages. As a result, most people subconsciously prefer to see other representations of these cues in order to connect properly with the other person they are talking too.
Apparently, seeing periods in text messages could make some people feel that the sender is being insincere due to the lack of emotional connection between them.
"When speaking, people easily convey social and emotional information with eye gaze, facial expressions, tone of voice, pauses and so on," Klin said in a press statement. "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," she added.
To support their findings, the researchers conducted a follow-up study which revealed that using exclamation points, even is unnecessary, is a more effective way of conveying information and emotion in text messages than other punctuation marks.
"That's not surprising but it broadens our claim," Klin said about the follow-up experiment. "Punctuation is used and understood by texters to convey emotions and other social and pragmatic information."
The study carried out by Klin and her team was published on November 22 in the journal Computers in Human Behavior.