In online reviews, patterns in vocabulary can betray deceit | Science News


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Culture Beaker

In online reviews, patterns in vocabulary can betray deceit

5:02pm, September 12, 2011

My room at the Hotel Monaco in Chicago was small, but not cramped. There’s a decent attached restaurant and a free evening wine hour in the ornate — yet cozy, thanks to the working fireplace — lobby. The hotel is a few blocks from the convention center, ideal for a reporter covering a scientific conference. I know, because I was there. But how do you know I was there?

Look closely at my review. Online reviews are littered with linguistic clues that separate legitimate reviews from the fakes, new research reveals. And we should thank the academics who are looking into it (I was not paid to review them favorably), because there’s a huge financial incentive and little cost for businesses to get into the fraudulent review game.

So on to the red flags. Certain words — not necessarily ones you’d expect — are signs of lies:  luxury, husband, I, business. Others indicate

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