Trust in online recommendations: an evolutionary psychology perspective

Gerard P PRENDERGAST*, Aishwarya Paliwal, Kelvyn Ka Fuk Chan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Electronic word-of-mouth (eWOM) is playing an increasingly important role in influencing consumer behavior, and it represents another opportunity for marketers to build support for their brands. This study explores how the gender of the reader influences how eWOM is perceived. An experiment grounded in evolutionary psychology examines how males and females differ in their perceived trust of eWOM of positive, negative, or mixed valence. The results indicate that females place greater trust than males in eWOM messages. But both genders find eWOM of mixed valence more trustworthy than entirely positive or negative eWOM. A follow-up phenomenological study of male and female consumers who had experienced eWOM shed more light on the experimental findings and offers additional support for their evolutionary basis. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed as well as recommendations for further research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)199-216
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Advertising
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 4 Mar 2018

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Communication
  • Marketing

User-Defined Keywords

  • communication
  • evolutionary psychology
  • gender
  • Internet marketing
  • word-of-mouth


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