The influences of negativity and review quality on the helpfulness of online reviews

P.F. Wu, H. Van Der Heijden, N.T. Korfiatis

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

58 Citations (Scopus)


Building on the interpersonal evaluation theory in social psychology, this study explores the existence of a negativity bias in evaluating the helpfulness of online reviews. i.e., whether users perceive a negative review to be more helpful than a positive review. An analysis of 7659 book reviews from shows that a negativity bias disappears after controlling for moderating factors related to evaluation quality such as readability and length. The finding demonstrates that the negativity bias suggested by the social psychology literature is not readily applicable to consumer-generated online reviews. The study contributes to the theorization of word-of-mouth by exploring the qualitative characteristics of consumer-generated reviews in addition to their valence. The study also makes a theoretical contribution to information systems research by introducing and extending the interpersonal evaluation theory to online review research.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2011
EventInternational Conference on Information Systems (ICIS), December 2011, Shanghai. - Shanghai, China
Duration: 4 Dec 20117 Dec 2011


ConferenceInternational Conference on Information Systems (ICIS), December 2011, Shanghai.


  • Interpersonal evaluation theory
  • Negativity bias
  • Online reviews
  • Word-of-mouth

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