It looks like President-elect Halimah Yacob has become part of another milestone in history. Twitter announced on Wednesday (13 September) that it has created an emoji in honour of the 63-year-old former speaker of parliament – a first for a national leader in Singapore, and the first-ever emoji for a female head of state in the world.
As it turns out, there are a couple of evolutionary reasons why we have these opposing emotions, which psychologists have termed “dimorphous expressions.” In a paper published earlier last year in the journal Psychological Science, Oriana Aragon at Yale University’s department of psychology has explored the paradox of “cute aggression,” where a person is so overwhelmed by the dawww-worthiness of a subject that they express a desire to eat that squishy little thing right up. Crying when you’re happy arouses consoling behaviors.” The second reason why people might have these dimorphous expressions is to get their emotions in check. Aragon’s research shows that when we’re so overwhelmed with happiness that we end up sniffling, we’re actually swinging our emotions back like a pendulum of sorts, trying to dial our elatedness back down. “People who don’t do it just don’t get that emotional – they don’t reach those emotions, they just don’t express it and it doesn’t really matter so long as they can process their emotions,” Aragon said.