What Happens in Vegas Stays on TripAdvisor? A Theory and Technique to Understand Narrativity in Consumer Reviews

Tom Van Laer, Jennifer Edson Escalas, Stephan Ludwig, Ellis van den Hende

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Many consumers base their purchase decisions on online consumer reviews. An overlooked feature of these texts is their narrativity: the extent to which they tell a story. The authors construct a new theory of narrativity to link the narrative content and discourse of consumer reviews to consumer behavior. They also develop from scratch a computerized technique that reliably determines the degree of narrativity of 190,461 verbatim, online consumer reviews and validate the automated text analysis with two controlled experiments. More transporting (i.e., engaging) and persuasive reviews have better-developed characters and events as well as more emotionally changing genres and dramatic event orders. This interdisciplinary, multimethod research should help future researchers (1) predict how narrativity affects consumers’ narrative transportation and persuasion, (2) measure the narrativity of large digital corpora of textual data, and (3) understand how this important linguistic feature varies along a continuum.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)267-285
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Consumer Research
Volume46
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Keywords

  • automated text analysis
  • computational linguistics
  • consumer reviews
  • narrative persuasion
  • narrative transportation
  • storytelling

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