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Home News Psychologists say using emojis is more important than ever right now. Seriously

Psychologists say using emojis is more important than ever right now. Seriously

Whether it’s being able to freely walk outside, shop for supplies without feeling like you’re in a scene from Mad Max, or just enjoy a booming economy, there’s plenty to miss about the pre-coronavirus world. But face-to-face communication with friends and colleagues is something a lot of us are missing out on as well. Sure, an email sent from your couch can substitute for chatting by the office water cooler in terms of factual content, it still misses out on some of the more nuanced shades of personal communication favored by humans.

For that reason, researchers from the U.K.’s University of Chichester have an idea that, on the face of it, sounds kind of wacky:We should make up for the 93% of communication cues that are lost when messaging online, compared to speaking with colleagues face to face, by using emojis. Like, lots of emojis.

While the cartoon smiley faces and other pictograms might seem frivolous, they can serve as crucial tools for substituting for things like body language and tone of voice.

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“When we are communicating via emails, we are only revealing the content and leaving out vocal tones and facial expressions,” Dr. Moitree Banerjee, a senior psychology lecturer at the University of Chichester, told Digital Trends. “Hence we are not revealing enough cues for our colleagues to make effective inferences. Emojis can help immensely in communication as a proxy cue of attitude of the communicator. [They are] quasi-nonverbal cues. Emoticons allow receivers to correctly understand the level and direction of emotion, attitude, and attention expression. Apart from conveying the attitude, emojis can also provide reassurance that the receiver may need.”

The idea that text is a valid substitute for spoken words is something that anyone who has used some variation of the phrase “it’s not what they said, but how they said it” will be familiar with. A classic psychology study carried out in 1967 showed that someone’s tone of voice took precedence over the content of their words when determining meaning. Facial expressions additionally factor highly in inferring communicator attitudes.

More recently, a study published in 2015 reported that employees perceive face-to-face communication to be of higher quality than telephone and email communication. Face-to-face communication was also strongly and positively related to employees’ job satisfaction and their perceptions of their supervisors’ effectiveness, along with team identification.

This might help to explain why people are currently jumping on services like Zoom to turn what would have previously been an email exchange into a video call. It’s inevitable that text-based conversations will have to occur, though — which is where emojis come in.

“My suggestion is that this is the right time to move away from mindless communication to mindful communication,” Banerjee said. “It is the time to cultivate awareness and be non-judgmental; for the sender and receiver to be aware of the gaps in communication caused by this new mode of communication. It may be unorthodox to use emojis in a formal work setup. However, this might be the [moment] to break some barriers, given the current uncertain times.”

Just make sure to avoid the eggplant emoji. We hear the kids have changed what that one means. It’s no longer just the basis for a great baba ghanoush!

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Sennheiser GSP 670 headset review: premium price, subpar performance

The search for a new headset can really get frustrating. Sure, there are a million options on Amazon for under $50, but when you want something premium, where do you start? If you’re looking for the best possible audio quality, you start with the Sennheiser GSP 670 and hope you can find it on sale because these things don’t come cheap.The GSP 670 is a premium headset with sound quality and a price tag to match. Launching at $350, you’re paying for the Sennheiser name and quality. We’ve tested multiple Sennheiser headsets throughout the years and have almost always come away impressed. That’s the same story here.The first thing you may notice about this headset is just how big it is. It looks big before you pick it up and it feels big once you put it on. Coming in at just shy of 400g, it has the weight to make those extremely long gaming sessions taxing, but luckily Sennheiser included one of the best headbands I’ve seen in a headset yet. It’s big and comfortable without looking too ridiculous.The earcups are equally nice with large plus fabric cups that will keep your ears away from the driver covers. If you prefer leatherette cups you’ll want to find another option, but I did find these to be one of the most comfortable headsets to just sit and listen to music on. The clamping force is just right (although uneven; more on that later) and the earcups provide a wonderful seal to keep the noise of the world away from your ears.One the outside of the headset, there’s a small tactile wheel to adjust chat volume if you’re using a gaming console, a large volume knob, and a multifunction button that will provide audio prompts for battery level and put you into pairing mode when you hold it down. The only thing we’re missing here is a physical switch to move between Bluetooth and 2.4ghz connection standards, and we’ll tell you why that matters in a bit.The microphone is on the left side of the headset and provides a nice tactile click when you flip it all the way up. This is how you mute your microphone and comes in handy when you need to have a quick conversation and get back to whatever you were doing before.I wish I could report that the microphone provided better audio quality but I was pretty disappointed. It’s been a struggle to find a wireless headset that really gives great performance in this area (I’m guessing there’s a bandwidth issue) and the Sennheisers fall disappointingly short. I think they sound much the same as every other headset released in the last decade, which isn’t saying a lot.Both Bluetooth and 2.4ghz connection standards are here. Plugging the USB dongle into my computer, the headset paired almost instantly and opened up a world of opportunity to tune through the Sennheiser app. There are options to tune your EQ, how the microphone sounds, and even provide a noise gate in case you have a noisy background. I didn’t find much difference in how the microphone sounded using these options so hopefully, they continue to be tuned in future updates.The sound that comes through these headphones is a completely different story. This has been one of the best audio experiences I’ve had in my time reviewing tech. I’d put it up there with the Sony WH-1000xm3 in terms of enjoyment. Where Sony offers amazing noise cancelation, the Sennheiser GSP 670 takes the crown in terms of audio quality.I found music pleasingly bass-y without feeling like I’m slogging through the mud just to listen. Mids are very clear while highs are crisp without being piercing.I just wish I enjoyed wearing these more. I can’t overstate how heavy these things are. At just under 400g, they’re one of the heavier headsets I’ve tested and it can be exhausting during long sessions. With 16 hours of battery life, those sessions can last all night, but you’ll need breaks.Additionally, I don’t like wearing these because of how the cups sit on my head. While the cups themselves are large enough that my ear doesn’t touch anything, the clamping is uneven and annoying. You can use the sliders in the headband to adjust your clamp, but I always end up with more pressure on the bottom of the cups than at the top.Frankly, these don’t look great and certainly don’t look like something I’d pay over $300 for. They’re big and bulky with muted colors and an … aggressive? design. I’m not entirely sure what to call this design language but there are definitely better-looking options on the market. This won’t matter to some, but for those who do care, it’s a bit of a killer and makes the cost harder to justify.ConclusionThere are always trade-offs when you’re using a wireless headset. Sennheiser smartly did not skimp on the audio quality and if you’re looking for a wireless headset that sounds great, this is definitely where you want to start. I put it at the top of the list in that respect.But, where it falls apart is pretty much everywhere else. Tradeoffs become pretty obvious when you use these for more than a few hours.Yep, they’re built solidly and the plastic design means they’ll hold up to some abuse. But, these look cheaper than competing options like the Astro A50s and Arctis Pro Wireless. Plus, as I’ve said a few times, they’re heavy.It’s awesome that they have both 2.4ghz and Bluetooth standards. But there’s no way to manually switch between them and the second that your computer plays audio via the USB dongle, the Bluetooth cuts out completely. If you’re using these to take a phone call or listen to music on your phone and you accidentally click on a YouTube link on your computer, say goodbye to your audio. This would be an easy fix with a manual switch and we hope to see that in a future revision.Best over-ear headphones (spring 2020)I can’t state enough how crappy the audio from the mic is. Maybe I’m spoiled by streamers who invest hundreds and hundreds of dollars into their audio equipment, but this sounds like every headset I’ve heard the last decade of gaming and that’s pretty disappointing.If your voice quality matters to you at all, I’d suggest getting a standalone mic. But you have to ask yourself if you’re grabbing something like a Blue Yeti, is there a justification for the GSP 670 when you can buy a wireless headset for far cheaper?I know it probably looks like I hate the Sennheiser GSP 670 but I don’t. In true dad fashion, I’m not mad, I’m just disappointed. While they’re best in class in terms of audio quality, the things they miss on are a killer and make them harder to recommend over other competitors.After a bit of searching, I’ve found the Sennheiser GSP 670 around $300 and sometimes cheaper on sale. I think if you can find these cheaper than that, go for it. Your ears will thank you. At full price, they’re a tough sell.Buy the Sennheiser GSP 670 at Amazon

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