This article proposed a theoretical framework to demonstrate how and why people respond differently to conflicting information in computer-mediated communication. Using gender difference as an example, this study showed that women had greater tendencies to elaborate on positive rather than negative outcomes, whereas men had a balanced tendency to elaborate on both positive and negative outcomes. Accordingly, when they read conflicting consumer comments about initial product messages posted on weblogs, men, who elaborated on both positive and negative outcomes, experienced greater discomfort than women, who elaborated on positive outcomes to a greater degree than negative outcomes. Enhanced discomfort among men resulted in the reduced credibility and diagnosticity of the initial product information, which then led to deteriorated product evaluations.
New Media & Society, Published online before print May 21, 2014