The language of consumer reviews

Via Eric Goldman’s roundup, the best thing I’ve seen all day:

In a recent study we used computational linguistics to examine a million reviews on the web and found that when people write a 1-star review, they use the language of trauma: precisely the same words used by people writing about tragedies like the deaths of loved ones, for instance the pronoun “we” to emphasize a collective sense of grief and solidarity….Positive reviews of expensive restaurants use metaphors of sex and sensual pleasure, such as “orgasmic pastry” or “seductively seared foie gras”, demonstrating our sensuous, hedonistic nature. But positive reviews of cheap restaurants and foods instead employed metaphors of drugs or addiction: “these cupcakes are like crack,” and “the wings are addicting”.

Dan Jurafsky, The Language of Reviews.

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