Twitter 'like' tool is an 'explicit and quantified form of social validation', says psychologist


Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Psychologist Honey Langcaster-James has said Twitter's 'like' function is an "explicit and quantified form of social validation" which replicates the approval humans are "hard-wired to seek out" from others.

Ms Langcaster-James, who specialises in behavioural psychology, appeared on the Matthew Wright show to discuss social media platform Twitter announcing the removal of it's popular, heart-shaped like button.

The psychologist warned that the function could become "very addictive", causing users to become "dependent" on getting likes from other users.


'We become very dependent on it'

"It can become very addictive because it's such an explicit and quantified form of social validation. We become very dependent on it and we want to crave it," she told Matthew Wright.

"It comes down to basic psychology. We are hard-wired to seek out the approval and acceptance of others around us. And obviously in times gone by, from an evolutionary point of view, that would have been our near community. It makes absolute sense for us to feel accepted, that we belong, that we share those values."

Despite revealing she would "miss" the button personally, the psychologist reeled off a number of negative effects it could have on the human psyche.



"When you see other people have liked something, especially if its been liked in great quanitities as it is sometimes on social media, then what can happen is it can actually lead to you feeling excluded if you disagree with it," Ms Langcaster-James said.

"Let's say you see something and think 'I don't agree with that, but so many people have liked it I wouldn't want to speak up', and say 'I actually disagree'.

"I think young people today in particular are really driven to seek likes above actually sharing their true thoughts and feelings."