Anxious or Angry? Effects of Discrete Emotions on the Perceived Helpfulness of Online Reviews

MIS Quarterly, Vol. 38, No. 2, pp. 539-560, 2014

22 Pages Posted: 12 May 2013 Last revised: 28 Oct 2015

See all articles by Dezhi Yin

Dezhi Yin

University of South Florida

Samuel Bond

Georgia Institute of Technology; Georgia Institute of Technology - Scheller College of Business

Han Zhang

Georgia Institute of Technology - Scheller College of Business

Date Written: May 8, 2013

Abstract

This paper explores effects of the emotions embedded in a seller review on its perceived helpfulness to readers. Drawing on frameworks in the emotion and cognitive processing literatures, we propose that over and above a well-known negativity bias, the impact of discrete emotions in a review will vary, and that one source of this variance is reader perceptions of reviewers’ cognitive effort. We focus on the roles of two distinct, negative emotions common to seller reviews: anxiety and anger. In Studies 1 and 2, experimental methods were utilized to identify and explain the differential impact of anxiety and anger in terms of perceived reviewer effort. In Study 3, seller reviews from Yahoo! Shopping websites were collected to examine the relationship between emotional review content and helpfulness ratings. Our findings demonstrate the importance of examining discrete emotions in online word-of-mouth, and they carry important practical implications for consumers and online retailers.

Keywords: discrete emotions, anxiety, anger, seller reviews, review helpfulness, online word-of-mouth, electronic commerce, consumer decision-making

Suggested Citation

Yin, Dezhi and Bond, Samuel and Zhang, Han, Anxious or Angry? Effects of Discrete Emotions on the Perceived Helpfulness of Online Reviews (May 8, 2013). MIS Quarterly, Vol. 38, No. 2, pp. 539-560, 2014, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2263561

Dezhi Yin (Contact Author)

University of South Florida ( email )

Tampa, FL 33620
United States

Samuel Bond

Georgia Institute of Technology ( email )

Atlanta, GA 30332
United States

Georgia Institute of Technology - Scheller College of Business ( email )

800 West Peachtree St.
Atlanta, GA 30308
United States

Han Zhang

Georgia Institute of Technology - Scheller College of Business ( email )

800 West Peachtree St.
Atlanta, GA 30308
United States

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