This paper examines the effects of review arousal on perceived helpfulness of online reviews, and on consumers’ emotional responses elicited by the reviews. Drawing on emotion theories in psychology and neuroscience, we focus on four emotions – anger, anxiety, excitement, and enjoyment that are common in the context of online reviews. The effects of the four emotions embedded in online reviews were examined using a controlled experiment. Our preliminary results show that reviews embedded with the four emotions (arousing reviews) are perceived to be more helpful than reviews without the emotions embedded (non-arousing reviews). However, reviews embedded with anxiety and enjoyment (low-arousal reviews) are perceived to be more helpfulness that reviews embedded with anger and excitement (high-arousal reviews). Furthermore, compared to reviews embedded with anger, reviews embedded with anxiety are associated with a higher EEG activity that is generally linked to negative emotions. The results suggest a non-linear relationship between review arousal and perceived helpfulness, which can be explained by the consumers’ emotional responses elicited by the reviews.
Kuan, Kevin K.Y.; Smith, Jessica; Liu, Na; and Poon, Simon K., "THE ROLE OF REVIEW AROUSAL IN ONLINE REVIEWS: INSIGHTS FROM EEG DATA" (2016). PACIS 2016 Proceedings. 208.