When someone likes your post, especially if it’s someone you don’t know, it validates your thoughts, feelings, or experiences that you’ve shared. It is a sign of acceptance and acknowledgement which can trigger positive feelings and the responses you mentioned – the desire to say thank you or give them a virtual hug.
Biochemically, these reactions might be associated with a release of the following chemicals:
1. Dopamine: The ‘feel-good’ neurotransmitter. When your post is liked, the reward center in your brain gets activated, leading to a release of dopamine. This can lead to feelings of pleasure, satisfaction, and motivation.
2. Oxytocin: Often referred to as the ‘cuddle hormone’ or ‘love hormone’, oxytocin is associated with social bonding, trust, and feelings of generosity. If you feel a surge of warmth or affection towards the person who liked your post (like wanting to give them a hug), it could be due to a release of oxytocin.
3. Serotonin: This neurotransmitter is linked to feelings of well-being and happiness. Recognition from others (like getting a like on your post) can lead to an increase in serotonin levels, making you feel happy, content, or proud.
Physically, these biochemical reactions could manifest in various ways such as a rush of excitement, a warm feeling in the chest, or even a sense of relaxation. You might feel energized and motivated to engage more.
Motor systems can play into it because our emotions often have physical expressions. For instance, you might find yourself smiling or laughing, your posture might lift, or you might feel a physical urge to respond or react (like typing a thank you message).
As for the role of imagination, it’s significant in this process. Even though the interaction is taking place online, you imagine the individual who liked your post. You visualize the interaction and the positivity associated with it. This can contribute to the overall positive emotional response, and may even stimulate more creativity or engagement from you in the future.