This research examines asymmetric negativity biases in the formation of consumer trust in an online environment. Drawing on prospect theory and social psychology literature, the authors propose that online consumers will exhibit more negative bias for information regarding sellers’ integrity than for information regarding sellers’ competence. Two experiments manipulated the dimension of seller behavior by presenting text reviews (Study 1) and ratings (Study 2) in a typical online word-of-mouth setting. As predicted, although negativity bias does impact trust formation in this setting, the magnitude of the bias depends on the dimension of seller behavior involved: consumers exhibit much more bias toward information regarding sellers’ integrity than toward information regarding sellers’ competence. The authors also discuss the theoretical and practical implications of these results.
Yin, Dezhi; Bond, Samuel; and Zhang, Han, "ARE BAD REVIEWS ALWAYS STRONGER THAN GOOD? ASYMMETRIC NEGATIVITY BIAS IN THE FORMATION OF ONLINE CONSUMER TRUST" (2010). ICIS 2010 Proceedings. 193.