Liking hot Instagram pics is something that we’ve all gotten into the habit of doing way more frequently than we’d probably like to admit. Not sure about you, but I basically just scroll down my feed and double tap the picture at ease, mindlessly adding “Likes” to celebrities, friends, businesses and anyone in-between. I honestly don’t even think about what’s in the pic much, but who posted it, which causes me to like it.

Of course, there are some variables that can change that. For instance, I might like a picture on Instagram of LeBron James because the message is about his sons, daughter, wife or family. But I’ll definitely like a hot Instagram pic of a model like Lindsey Pelas because, well, her perfect body is on display and it’s hard not to just drool over. I’m just going to assume that you do something similar anytime you see so much skin that it’s hard to look away when scrolling through Instagram.

But do those likes actually mean anything to someone like Lindsey Pelas considering she’s getting hundreds of thousands of them with each picture she posts? As it turns out, yes, because the sexy blonde told Huffington Post in a recent article that all the love is definitely appreciated.

“For me, posting a picture basically has one underlying message every time: ’I’m feeling myself,’” Pelas told me. “So, when other people post their pics, I assume it’s an expression of self-love and them feeling themselves, which is what I love more than anything. Liking photos is like an internet clap.”

While you or I may not think too hard about liking hot Instagram pics of a model as drop dead gorgeous as Lindsey Pelas, there’s actually a psychology around why we do. Of course there is, right?

According to Frank T. McAndrew, an evolutionary social psychologist at Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois, the reason we can’t help but like hot Instagram pics when lazily browsing our feed comes down to a few factors. And, as you might expect, they’re pretty interesting.

McAndrew traces all these “liking” tendancies back to some pretty basic group behavior, where, as humans, we have an evolutionary drive to form cohesive social groups and then self-identify. Whether it’s a person’s political affiliation, religion, social status, aesthetic values or where they live, we’ve always tended to like attractive people. With access to all those pretty people like never before thanks to social media, it’s natural for us to like hot Instagram pics with ease.

“Because these are people that we know in common with others, they become topics of conversation,” McAndrew said. “These people worm their way into our social world.”

In this respect, there’s some logic to “liking” or commenting, he said.

“At the very least, we get the satisfaction of seeing our name in proximity to the celebrity and perhaps feel a slight boost in status in knowing that other people may associate us with them, however remotely,” McAndrew said.

It really comes down to our brains “thinking” we know somebody well because we see them on TV or on the Internet. Back in the day, before social media, there wasn’t such a thing, so we kept those types of reactions to ourselves.

A good example of this is seeing an actor you like on Instagram. You may like his movies, see how he treats his girlfriend, and, generally speaking, wish you could be as cool as him. Since he’s exposed in various places, your mind naturally takes what you observe and begin to draw a conclusion about his life. If he looks happy all the time, your mind will assume that’s the case — of course, nobody is always happy, so don’t be fooled, guys.

The same thing happens when you like hot Instagram pics, because it makes guys feel like the know everyone whom they ever encounter, even if it is on social media and not in real life.
Here’s one other thing about this little psychological study, though: that biology works against us when we’re dating a girl, because she may get jealous at our over-liking all those hot Instagram pics. I know I’ve been in situation where my girlfriend actually got mad because of me “liking” model’s pics. So, why’s that happen? Allow Glenn Geher, professor of psychology and author of Mating Intelligence Unleashed: The Role of the Mind in Sex, Dating, and Love explain.

“Under ancestral conditions, someone publicly expressing an attraction to someone outside their pair-bond would have been a signal of potential infidelity,” Geher said.

While “liking” someone’s shirtless pic on Instagram in 2019 is not likely to lead to an affair, “Our minds evolved under very different conditions,” he said. “Before, we only had the chance to interact with others whom we actually knew.”

Although it might feel bad when a a significant other is liking hot Instagram pics of models, celebs and everyone in-between, remember that it shouldn’t impact how you look at your girlfriend; or how she looks at you. Very rarely will anyone put something out on social media that is unflattering — especially someone with millions of followers who has tons of followers — after all, they have a personal brand to protect.

So, while it’s easy to show jealousy, just remember that comparing yourself to others on Instagram is a terrible trap to fall into. And, when it comes to hot Instagram pics, you can just defend your likes with psychological research, and we’re all guilty of it.