Expressions of doubt and trust in online user reviews.

Citation metadata

Date: Jan. 2021
From: Computers in Human Behavior(Vol. 114)
Publisher: Elsevier B.V.
Document Type: Report; Brief article
Length: 251 words

Document controls

Main content

Abstract :

Keywords Trust; Doubt; Confidence; Online reviews; Advice-taking Highlights * We examined the effects of doubtful language on trust in online reviews. * We analyzed data from Yelp and conducted a controlled experiment. * Doubtful reviews were trusted more than confident reviews. * The effects of doubt were strongest for positive (vs. negative) reviews. * Expressions of doubt signal honesty in online advice. Abstract How do expressions of doubt affect trust in online reviews? Some previous studies find that people trust confident advisors more than doubtful advisors, whereas others find doubtful advisors are trusted more. We tested the effects of expressing doubt using Yelp data and in a controlled experiment: In Study 1, reviews from Yelp (N = 5.9 million) were coded using the Linguistic Inquiry Word Count (LIWC) software. Reviews with doubtful language were seen as more useful, and this result was robust when controlling for other psychological and linguistic variables. In Study 2, participants (N = 660) evaluated reviews with doubtful or confident conclusions; doubtful reviews were seen as more likely to be written by actual consumers. In both studies, the positive effects of doubt were stronger for positive (vs. negative) reviews, suggesting doubt mitigates concerns about fake positive reviews. The present study emphasizes the advantages of expressing doubt. Author Affiliation: Department of Social Psychology, Tilburg University, P.O. Box 90153, 5000LE, Tilburg, Netherlands * Corresponding author. Article History: Received 16 January 2020; Revised 12 June 2020; Accepted 7 September 2020 Byline: Anthony M. Evans [A.M.Evans@uvt.nl] (*), Olga Stavrova, Hannes Rosenbusch

Source Citation

Source Citation   

Gale Document Number: GALE|A680774843