Why does one crave facebook likes or a pat on the back. Our actions are always governed by this phenomenon, and I don't understand why.

  • $\begingroup$ I originally read your question as "the experience of appreciating things", but it sounds more like you are talking about accumulating "social capital" - likes, followers, reputation, etc. $\endgroup$
    – Alex Stone
    Jul 30, 2015 at 19:50
  • $\begingroup$ Ya the latter. I wish to understand the reason behind this behavior. $\endgroup$ Jul 30, 2015 at 20:33
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    $\begingroup$ en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reinforcement#Reinforcement $\endgroup$
    – BCLC
    Aug 1, 2015 at 6:16
  • $\begingroup$ Some need that reassurance that they are still valid, that they looks good / sexy, that their posessions are the luxurious / fines / shiniest from the city and so on.. $\endgroup$ Apr 16, 2017 at 8:32

1 Answer 1


From a biological viewpoint, these experiences are associated with the release of neurotransmitters like dopamine and oxytocin, which activate the "reward pathway" of the brain that is associated with feelings of happiness and mood alleviation. Since these are pleasurable experiences, we crave more and more of it, which is why a lot of our actions are governed by it.


The Science of Happiness. (2016). More Good Deeds. Retrieved 19 April 2017, from https://www.moregooddeeds.org/blog/2017/1/20/the-science-of-happiness

Fehlhaber, K. (2012). The Reward Pathway Reinforces Behavior - Knowing Neurons. Knowing Neurons. Retrieved 19 April 2017, from http://knowingneurons.com/2012/10/31/the-reward-pathway-reinforces-behavior/

Icahn School of Medicine | Neuroscience Department | Nestler Lab | Brain Reward Pathways. (2017). Neuroscience.mssm.edu. Retrieved 19 April 2017, from http://neuroscience.mssm.edu/nestler/brainRewardpathways.html

Know your brain: Reward system. (2015). Neuroscientifically Challenged. Retrieved 19 April 2017, from http://www.neuroscientificallychallenged.com/blog/know-your-brain-reward-system

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    $\begingroup$ Hi Aman, Welcome at CogSci. Do you have any references that could back up these statements? $\endgroup$ Apr 19, 2017 at 5:52
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    $\begingroup$ link This link has the explanations for the release of oxytocin and dopamine, along with other hormones and neurotransmitters $\endgroup$ Apr 19, 2017 at 6:00
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    $\begingroup$ More information about the rewards pathway can be found in these sites: link link link $\endgroup$ Apr 19, 2017 at 6:08
  • $\begingroup$ @AmanKhandelwal - please include those references in your answer proper $\endgroup$
    – AliceD
    Apr 19, 2017 at 8:53
  • $\begingroup$ I have an objection to this answer: In my opinion, it answers the question how appreciation makes us happy from a biological point of view. Moreover, I claim that the reason for feeling happiness, that is why, lies outside of the domain of biological explanations. Regards, and hopefully a constructive debate. $\endgroup$
    – user14074
    Apr 19, 2017 at 16:19

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