2 Citations (SciVal)


We conducted a randomized-controlled experiment with 201 participants to investigate the effects of relationship closeness, emotions, and the receipt of Likes on reciprocal Liking behaviors. We found that individuals engaged in interchange-oriented social grooming by giving Likes to close friends regardless of whether they had received Likes from them before. However, when relationship closeness was low, participants mirrored their acquaintances’ behavior by reciprocating Likes for Likes. Additionally, high-arousal positive emotions mediated the effects of receiving Likes on the intention to Like other users’ content, but this result only held true when relational closeness was not accounted for in the model. Our study explains why people give Likes on social media and what factors shape their Liking intentions. The results of our study contribute to the existing knowledge of the social norm of reciprocity, social grooming, emotion regulation, relational closeness, and social media Liking.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberzmac036
JournalJournal of Computer Mediated Communication
Issue number2
Early online date16 Jan 2023
Publication statusPublished - 31 Mar 2023

Bibliographical note

The present research was supported by the University of Bath School of Management PhD scholarship award

Data availability
The data underlying this article is available in the online supplementary material. Study materials are available from the corresponding author on request.


  • emotions
  • reciprocity
  • relational closeness
  • social media Liking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication


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