Depression is a common, but serious medical illness. Several influential cognitive theories propose that the maintenance of depressive symptoms is associated with negative cognitive biases. This study aims to evaluate the effectiveness of using a dot-probe task to detect negative attention bias in young adults and to study the effectiveness in using emoji images versus real face images in a dot-probe task. A total of 50 young adults (aged 18 to 29) were recruited and completed a visual dot-probe task under two conditions, once with face-type stimuli and then with emoji-type stimuli. Participants exhibiting depressive symptoms showed a greater attention bias towards faces with sad expressions compared to non-depressed participants. However, no evidence was found for differences in attention biases towards happy expressions, as well as toward emoji images representing happy and sad expressions. The average reaction time was faster for emoji-type trials compared to face-type trials. Results support the use of happy and sad expressions in a dot-probe task to detect attention bias related to depressive symptoms in young adults. Despite finding a lack of differences in general attention bias towards emoji-type images, further analysis is required to make a reliable verdict on the efficacy of using emoji images in a dot probe task.