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Using a full stop to end an SMS makes you seem insincere, researchers say

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SMS messages that end with a full stop are perceived to be less sincere than messages that do not, according to a new study from American researchers.

Researchers at Binghamton University in New York and Rutgers University in New Jersey were examining whether punctuation can provide "pragmatic and social information".
The researchers say that text messaging is "one of the most frequently used computer-mediated communication (CMC) methods" and that the speed of texting mimics face-to-face communication but lacks non-verbal content.
"Texting is lacking many of the social cues used in actual face-to-face conversations," lead researcher Celia Klin, an associate professor of psychology, said in a press release.
"When speaking, people easily convey social and emotional information with eye gaze, facial expressions, tone of voice, pauses, and so on.
"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."
Participants recruited from Binghamton University read 16 exchanges as either text messages or handwritten notes.
Each exchange contained a statement followed by an invitation phrased as a question, and a single-word reply consisting of either Okay, Sure, Yeah or Yup.
Participants read two versions of each exchange, one with a period [full stop] after the response and one without.
Participants rated the responses with a period as being less sincere, but only for electronic, not hand-written, messages.
"Punctuation is used and understood by texters to convey emotions and other social and pragmatic information," Associate Professor Klin said.
"Given that people are wonderfully adept at communicating complex and nuanced information in conversations, it's not surprising that as texting evolves, people are finding ways to convey the same types of information in their texts."
In a more recent but not yet published study, the same researchers found that an exclamation mark adds sincerity.
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