The Psychology Behind Likes on Instagram: Why Social Media are Affecting Your Brain

The psychology behind likes on instagram why social media are affecting your brain

Almost everyone is fond of the use of social media. No matter what age you are, you are likely to have Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other similar social media apps on your phone. If you are a teenager, you are probably checking your phone, again and again, to see if someone has liked your post, or commented on it. Now, social media is more about liking and being liked than making connections and sharing information.

Especially when it comes to the mystery of likes on Instagram or any other platform, we are very much excited when we get those. It is because we think that we are being liked by other people and that satisfies us. At the same time, if any of our post or picture on Instagram is not being liked that much, it can cause us to think about it several times a day that how can it be possible that no one liked it. What could be possibly wrong with it? Does nobody like us?

Instagram likes and brain activity

It has been observed that when we see our Instagram picture, Facebook post, or any other social media post being liked, the same brain activity happens that happens when we have won a lottery or got something big. The brain makes us feel happy and we feel pleasure when we the number of likes we have achieved. And, it is also studied that brain activity due to any other substance abuse is similar to the addiction to social media.

A study was conducted on the teenager and they were involved in a small social media experiment. It was conducted on the photo-sharing app Instagram. The teenagers were shown 148 pictures from Instagram where some of those pictures were uploaded by them. With each photo, the number of likes it got was mentioned. Teenagers didn’t know that those likes were given by the researcher himself.

When the teens view the photo with a large number of likes, there was an activity recorded in their brain. The part of the brain that was activated at that time was the reward centre which is often activated when the subject feels pleasure and excited about something. So, the teenagers got excited by seeing a large number of likes on photos. Also, it was observed that the teenagers were highly inclined to like the pictures that have got more likes.

This is the reality of the whole social media. We are so much involved in it that we judge ourselves and others based on what people are liking or commenting on. Now, social media is causing kids and even adults to become happy but at the same time, when they don’t feel like they are being appreciated, they can feel sad and depressed as well.

Improve your mental health using social media

If you are feeling stressed out, anxious, and depressed due to the use of social media, there are things you can do to overcome the situation. And, you need to do something if you are also relying on the ‘likes’ on your Instagram photo to feel good about yourself. Here are some things that will make you feel that social media is not everything.

Keep in mind that there is always a filter

One thing that people die for is the glittery life other people display on their social media. The more glitter there is, the more likes they get. Now, the people who are liking and appreciating those photos are being envious too. At the same time, they are also thinking that haven’t they got the same life. If you are one of them, just know that there is always a filter that makes the pictures more beautiful and better so that you can admire them. If you remove those filters, the other person is as average as you think you are.

Limit your time on Instagram

Think about how much time are you spending on Instagram every day. You are looking through your account and other people’s accounts, calculating the likes and comments, and this ruining your day. Someone likes your photo, you immediately open Instagram and start stalking that person who liked your photo. Do you think you are getting obsessed with Instagram and you cannot live without opening and checking for even an hour? Then you need to spend a little less time there. You can do any other activity and distract yourself to make sure the urge to cheque Instagram doesn’t come again.

Your identity matters

Using Instagram and other social media platforms are making people lose their identities. How? They want to be like others who get admired and appreciated a lot on social media. They want others to like them and they would do anything for that. This has made people do things that are opposite of their personalities and nature. Somehow they end up being people’s puppets and lose their worth because the real worth relies on what you are. What matters is what your true identity is not what people want you to be.

Choose good communities and groups

The groups and communities you are a part of on Instagram tell a lot about your experience there. People you follow on Instagram and those who follow you shows a lot about your personality. So do thorough research and choose wisely the people you want to be in connection with. If you connect with good people, you will likely have a good experience. It is good to think about what communities affirm you and who should you connect with.


Instagram and other social media platforms are playing with our brains but it totally up to you, if you keep everything in control and enjoy everything in balance, you will see that things are good too and you don’t have to look for likes on Instagram to feel good about yourself.

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