People With This Personality Are Worst at Spotting Fake Reviews

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Your personality appears to affect your ability to spot fake reviews when shopping online, according to recent research.

For a paper published in the Journal of Consumer Marketing, researchers examined the ability of more than 400 people to sniff out fake hotel reviews, and then gave them a personality test.

Each participant was given a set of eight hotel reviews to evaluate from among 1,600:

  • Two positive reviews that were fake
  • Two positive reviews that were real
  • Two negative reviews that were fake
  • Two negative reviews that were real

Participants with extroverted personality types were worst at spotting fake positive reviews. Those who scored high for the personality trait known as openness — meaning they tend to be open to new experiences and intellectually curious, for example — were best at spotting fake positive reviews.

Everyone was equally bad at spotting fake negative reviews, regardless of personality type.

“Overall, we found that consumers generally trust negative reviews more than positive ones,” study lead author Shabnam Azimi writes for The Conversation. “In evaluating whether an online review is genuine, consumers frequently underestimate the number of negative reviews that can be fake, while assuming that some positive reviews might be fake.”

Many people don’t consider possible motivations of the people behind a negative review, such as angry customers or rival business owners, Azimi said.

Participants were also more likely to trust reviews with certain characteristics, including:

  • Positive reviews that have short sentences
  • Negative reviews that have long sentences
  • Negative reviews that are shorter and have less emotional content

While this study focused on reviews of a hotel in a particular city (Chicago), consumers should be vigilant for fake reviews everywhere. For tips on spotting them, check out “5 Sneaky Ways to Spot a Fake Review on Amazon.”

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