Enhancing the perception of short text messages by adding expressive music and pictures
Ivett Lilian Backlund
Opponent: Marco Fabiani
Short text messages (SMS) have become a popular form of communication, especially among the younger portions of the population. The limitations in length of text messages in mobile phones have forced users to develop a language full of acronyms, phonetic shortenings and emoticons, the last of which are used to express emotions. MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service) was created as an enhancement of SMS and allows the user to add sound, pictures and video content to the text message. The purpose of this Thesis is to see how the perceived emotional meaning of a short text message can be enhanced by adding emotionally expressive music and coloured pictures.
We tested the effects of emotionally expressive music performances and coloured pictures on the perception of the emotional content of text messages. Thirty subjects (15F, 15M) rated the emotional content of three text messages (depicting a neutral, happy and angry situation respectively) using three scales: Neutral, Happy and Angry, which were ranging from low to high. The three text messages were presented in combination with or without one of two coloured pictures (red triangles representing anger or yellow circles representing happiness) and with or without one of two instrumental songs (a happy pop song and an aggressive hard rock song) for a total of 3 x 3 x 3 stimuli.
Statistical analysis of subjects\' answers show that they recognized the emotional intentions embedded in the text messages. On the one hand emotional intentions were rated higher when the text message was complemented with music and picture expressing the same emotion. On the other hand when the text message was accompanied with music and/or picture with contrasting emotion, its emotional intention received lower ratings. It was also found that female subjects rated angry stimuli significantly higher compared to male subjects’ ratings.