People With Depression Post Darker Pictures On Instagram

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In comparison, Global Positioning System have an average success rate for correctly diagnosing depression of 42%. People who aren't depressed, on the other hand, preferred the Valencia filter, which brightens the image.

About half of the people in the study had been diagnosed with depression in the past three years.

As it turned out, depressed people were actually more likely to post photos with faces in them, but when healthy people did post images with faces, there tended to be more people in the photographs. The research team built a tool that analyzed the posts and identified depression through markers determined in previous research, such as the tendency of depressed people to prefer grayer, darker colors, and to show less evidence of social activity (which the researchers thought might be evidenced by the absence of faces in posted images).

Co-authors Chris Danforth, a University of Vermont professor of mathematics and statistics, and Andrew Reece, a Harvard University graduate student in psychology, found that the Instagram photos of participants suffering from depression were "on average, bluer, darker and grayer than those posted by healthy individuals".

The pictures tend to be darker, greyer and bluer if someone is feeling depressed, a study suggests.

As part of the study, published in the journal EPJ Data Science, volunteers attempted to distinguish between Instagram photos posted by depressed and healthy people.

Depression also made people less likely to use filters in their posts.

This could be linked to reduced social interaction, or reflect the fact that depressed people take more self-portraits, said the researchers.

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At the end of the study, researchers noted the photos' likes, the photographers' posting patterns, and the use of filters.

The methodology used meant that people with depression were correctly identified 70 percent of the time.

Danforth said in a statement that while we tend to know our friends better than a computer could, "you might not, as a person casually flipping through Instagram, be as good at detecting depression as you think".

Your social media photos may reveal clues to the state of your mental health, according to a new study. "But it is a proof of concept of a new way to help people". Though more research is still needed, Danforth says this aspect is particularly encouraging.

"The end goal of this would be creating something that monitors a person's voice, how they're moving around and what their social network looks like ― all the stuff we already reveal to our phones", Danforth said.

EJP Data Science examined 166 people and 43,950 posts before making conclusions, though it claims the results are overwhelming.

He clarifies that it's "not yet a diagnostic test, not by a long shot".