Anger in Consumer Reviews: Unhelpful but Persuasive?

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Publication History

Received: January 11, 2018
Revised: December 26, 2018; August 18, 2019; December 27, 2019; April 15, 2020
Accepted: April 25, 2020
Published online: June 21, 2021


A common assumption in prior research and practice is that more helpful online reviews will exert a greater impact on consumer attitudes and purchase decisions. We suggest that this assumption may not hold for reviews expressing anger. Building on the theory of emotions as social information (EASI), we propose that although expressions of anger in a negative review tend to decrease reader perceptions of review helpfulness, the same expressions tend to increase the negative influence of the review on reader attitudes and decisions. Results from a series of laboratory experiments provide support for our claims. Our findings challenge the widely accepted assumption that more “helpful” reviews are ultimately more persuasive and extend the current understanding of the interpersonal effects of emotion in online communication. Our findings also suggest implications for review platforms, retailers, marketers, and manufacturers faced with the task of managing consumer reviews.

Additional Details
Author Dezhi Yin, Samuel D. Bond, and Han Zhang
Year 2021
Volume 45
Issue 3a
Keywords Anger, online reviews, review helpfulness, consumer attitudes, online word-of-mouth, discrete emotions, emotions as social information
Page Numbers 1059-1084
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