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image of Psychophysiological effects of evaluative language use on Twitter complaints and compliments

Abstract

Abstract

This article explores the role of evaluative language in the identification of emotions in–and psychophysiological responses to–Twitter complaints and compliments by the readers of these messages. Three hypotheses were tested in this research. First, in line with recent experimental work in French, we expected the presence of negative evaluative language in complaints to increase perceived dissatisfaction, impoliteness, and offensiveness by the reader. Second, assuming the negativity bias hypothesis, stronger psychophysiological responses should be found in complaints compared to compliments. Third, readers’ psychophysiological responses should be stronger for complaints and compliments including evaluative language. To test these hypotheses, we used a reading task involving cardiovascular reactivity measurements and a questionnaire. We found that perceived customer dissatisfaction, impoliteness and offensiveness were higher in complaints with vs. without evaluative language. We did not find an effect of the negativity bias on cardiovascular reactivity. Rather, compliments with evaluative language elicited larger cardiac slowing compared to complaints (with or without evaluative language) and compliments without evaluative language. As the stimuli is our study concern a railway company (which is mostly the target of criticism and complaints on Twitter), participants may have reacted more to the sort of feedback they would not expect the company to receive. Future research will be necessary to establish whether our findings still hold in the case of companies that achieve a better balance between negative and positive feedback.

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2023-07-20
2024-07-24
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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keywords: psychophysiology ; Twitter ; customer dissatisfaction ; complaints ; (im)politeness ; compliments
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