Our brains now process emoticons too. A study in Social Neuroscience posits that emoticons have begun to reshape our brains. Of course, not all emoticons are made equal.

When a human views another human's face—even if it's upside-down—a particular part of the brain is activated.

Researcher Dr. Owen Churches showed 20 participants a mix of images and used electrophysiology to monitor and record the electrical patterns in their brains and showed them people faces and emoticons that look like this - :-). It seems our brains can recognize this.

So there you go: :)  [Smithsonian, ABC Science]