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Google maps out the top celeb GIFs we use to express emotion

Who we turn to most online to convey happiness, sadness and everything in between.

- 02:04

"Crying" is Michael Scott's most-searched-for GIF.

Google Tenor

If a picture is worth a thousand words, GIFs offer a motherload, especially when you can't find the right words to express yourself. And we apparently have favorite pop icons we know we can turn to for specific emotions.

If you're looking to convey happiness or enthusiastic approval, you might search for Drake. Google found that the rapper's most popular associated search term is "clap," followed by "dance" and "laugh." More than 30% of GIF searches that include emotion or action are searches for "Drake clapping."

"Other celebrities are wielded to convey different feelings," Simon Rogers, data journalist and data editor at Google, wrote in a blog post Thursday.

"The beauty of using GIFs to emote is that we're able to harness the expressive ability of an actor or someone's genuine physical reaction to fill in the gaps left by body language and tone in text-only communication," Rogers wrote.

If you're looking to express an emotion at the other end of the spectrum, say anger, you're unlikely to tap Drake. Gordon Ramsey has that GIF emotion covered. More than one in five emotion searches for Ramsey GIFs are for "anger," his second-most popular search term -- behind, perhaps curiously, the term "happy."

These were some of the findings in Google's study of how we emote with GIFs featuring pop culture icons, from Beyoncé to SpongeBob and dozens in between. Google used its GIF search engine, known as Tenor, to break down how we turn to celebrities to convey emotions, feelings and actions.

The result is that the search data provides an emotional spectrum, showing us which icon is more likely to be used to communicate happiness versus sadness. Google has built interactive graphics that allow you to search most popular emotions by celebrity or most turned to celebrity for specific emotions and actions.

"The likelihood of a 'happy' GIF search for Beyoncé and Justin Timberlake are over 9 to 1," Rogers wrote. "Conversely, Drake and Stitch are far more melancholy."

Google was also able to determine a celebrity's emotional "fingerprint" by mapping searches on a spectrum, with "laughing" at one end and "crying" at the other.

Still unsure what to say? Maybe you turn to Kanye West or Elmo to shrug...

or Judge Judy to be passive-aggressive...

So, go exploring your favorite celebrities and emotions, if it makes you happy.