"Emoticons are a new form of language that we’re producing, and to decode that language we’ve produced a new pattern of brain activity," Churches told ABC Science.
"There is no innate neural response to emoticons that babies are born with. Before 1982 there would be no reason that ‘:-)’ would activate face sensitive areas of the cortex but now it does because we’ve learnt that this represents a face. This is an entirely culturally-created neural response. It’s really quite amazing."