Why you can’t trust your friends’ reviews of ‘La La Land,’ ‘Hamilton’ — or anything else

Did you dislike “La La Land,” despite the Oscar nomination and your best friend’s or even your spouse’s insistence that you go? Have regrets about spending hundreds of dollars on a ticket for “Hamilton”? Turns out, there’s a way you could have prevented it.

By paying attention to the words people use, you can better determine the reliability of reviews. People who know what they’re talking about are more likely to use certain types of language, a recent paper, “How Language Shapes Word of Mouth’s Impact,” published in the Journal of Marketing Research, found. The researchers conducted five studies, including a mix of field data, laboratory experiments and a textual analysis of over 1,000 online reviews, comparing implicit endorsements (such as “I liked …” or “I enjoyed …”) with explicit endorsements (such as “I recommend …”).

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