Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Department of Graduate Psychology


Sri Siddhi N. Upadhyay

Krisztina Jakobsen

Kala Melchiori


Text messaging is often used as a stand-in for face to face communication. While texting mimics the rapid back and forth, turn taking nature of oral conversation, it lacks many of the pragmatic cues conversationalists ordinarily rely on to establish common ground and inform their understanding of sometimes nonliteral meaning conveyed to them. To get around this hurdle, texters have developed sets of textisms. These are specific cues that can be used to make up for the lack of pragmatic information in the texting environment. Examples include emoji, emoticons, and punctuation. This is an experimental study exploring whether time can be utilized as another textism cue, much in the same way a pause might be used to convey meaning in a face to face oral conversation. A series of three one-way ANCOVAs were conducted in order to explore the effects of time on perceived enthusiasm in text messages, while accounting for variance introduced by social anxiety, a key confound in prior work. Text messages sent after a four hour delay were consistently found to be rated less enthusiastic than text messages sent right away, with no effect of anxiety in two of the three analyses. An interaction was observed in one of the three ANCOVAs. While the role of anxiety was entirely not obvious in this experiment, time appears to have the ability to serve as another textism for texters to employ when conveying meaning beyond the written words of a text message.



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