Temporal contiguity and negativity bias in the impact of online word of mouth

Zoey Chen, Nicholas H. Lurie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

200 Scopus citations


Prior research shows that positive online reviews are less valued than negative reviews. The authors argue that this is due to differences in causal attributions for positive versus negative information such that positive reviews tend to be relatively more attributed to the reviewer (vs. product experience) than negative reviews. The presence of temporal contiguity cues, which indicate that review writing closely follows consumption, reduces the relative extent to which positive reviews are attributed to the reviewer and mitigates the negativity bias. An examination of 65,531 Yelp.com restaurant reviews shows that review value is negatively related to review valence but that this negative relationship is absent for reviews that contain temporal contiguity cues. A series of lab studies replicates these findings and suggests that temporal contiguity cues enhance the value of a positive review and increase the likelihood of choosing a product with a positive review by changing reader beliefs about the cause of the review.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)463-476
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Marketing Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Causal attributions
  • Negativity bias
  • Temporal contiguity
  • Word of mouth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Marketing


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