In Search of Negativity Bias: An Empirical Study of Perceived Helpfulness of Online Reviews
Version of Record online: 6 OCT 2013
© 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Psychology & Marketing
Volume 30, Issue 11, pages 971–984, November 2013
How to Cite
Wu, P. F. (2013), In Search of Negativity Bias: An Empirical Study of Perceived Helpfulness of Online Reviews. Psychol. Mark., 30: 971–984. doi: 10.1002/mar.20660
- Issue online: 6 OCT 2013
- Version of Record online: 6 OCT 2013
A basic tenet of psychology is that the psychological effects of negative information outweigh those of positive information. Three empirical studies show that the negativity bias can be attenuated or even reversed in the context of electronic word of mouth (eWoM). The first study analyzes a large sample of customer reviews collected from Amazon.com and concludes that negative reviews are no more helpful than positive ones when controlling for review quality The second study follows up with a virtual experiment that confirms the lack of negativity bias in evaluating the helpfulness of online reviews. The third study demonstrates that the negativity effect can be reversed by manipulating the baseline valences. This work challenges the conventional wisdom of “bad is stronger than good” and contributes to the understanding of the eWoM phenomenon.