University of Tasmania
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The influence of textese on adolescents' perceptions of message writers

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posted on 2023-05-27, 08:48 authored by Graham, JA
Text messages are characterised by an abbreviated, casual language style, known as textese (e.g., c u on thurs :) ). This study investigated the perceptions adolescents formed in response to the use of different levels of textese in digital messages, which varied in their communication modality (text, email) and their intended recipient (friend, teacher). Grade 8 participants (N = 92) read 12 fictitious messages, and rated how much they agreed (on a 7-point Likert scale) that the message writers had an appropriate writing style, were intelligent, friendly, and paid attention to detail. Participants rated the message writers less favourably when messages included high levels of textese to teachers compared to friends. Further, participants rated the message writers more favourably when they used no textese in email compared to text messages. However, they rated message writers similarly when they used medium and high levels of textese in text and email messages, which was unexpected. The limitations of this study include the experimental text messages lacking ecological validity due to their length, and potential demand characteristics. This research highlights that adolescents are sensitive to the recipients of digital messages, but may not be as sensitive to different communication modalities, when considering language choices.


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