A trip, a hotel, a purchase, or (let’s dream a little) a restaurant to book on the internet soon? Rather than relying on the algorithms responsible for sorting out true and false reviews published on the web, use your instinct instead. In any case, this is what a new scientific study published in the journal suggests. Information & Management and published online on February 10.
Conducted by two researchers, one working at the University of York (United Kingdom), the other at the Technological University of Nanyang (Singapore), with 380 people, the study aimed to understand if the human instinct was able to fill the gaps of the algorithms used on the internet, and if it was possible to help Internet users to better discern true opinions from fake comments which abound on the web.
The 380 participants were each exposed to three hotel reviews, some genuine, some fake. Internet users could rely on the same tricks as algorithms to detect the true from the false, namely the use of excessive superlatives in the opinion, the level of detail of the opinion, the ease of reading or the evasiveness of the comment. Because the more details a review includes (on the reception of hoteliers, address, opening hours, etc.), the more likely it is to be true. Conversely, a very exaggerated opinion, while superlative, is more likely to be false.
“The results have been surprisingly effective. We often assume that the human brain cannot compete with a computer, but in reality, there are certain things we can do to train the mind by approaching certain aspects of life differently.”, Commented Dr. Banerjee, co-author of the study.
“Following this study, we recommend that Internet users reduce their instincts regarding truth or lie bias – tendency that pushes us to consider online content on the assumption that everything is true or on the contrary that everything is false – since none of these methods work online”, Added the researcher.
“People often fail to spot fake reviews because they don’t proactively read them”, Continues the specialist. By remedying this bad habit of “automatic” reading, the Internet user will then be able to better identify the false comments published online, by relying on his instinct.
Source: Science Daily