A new study published in EJP Data Science this morning finds depression reveals itself in your Instagram feed. The correlation was so strong that researchers were able to identify markers of depression in pictures posted before a person's diagnosis.
Unsurprisingly, "In studies associating mood, color, and mental health, healthy individuals identified darker, grayer colors with negative mood, and generally preferred brighter, more vivid colors. By contrast, depressed individuals were found to prefer darker, grayer colors," the study reads.
That applies to not only editing photos but filters too: those diagnosed with depression were overwhelmingly likely to use Inkwell (a black-and-white filter) or none at all: "In other words, people suffering from depression were more likely to favor a filter that literally drained all the color out the images they wanted to share." Those without depression "disproportionately favored the Valencia filter, which lightens the tint of photos."
Of the 166 people and 43,950 posts studied, it was also noted that depression was consistent with fewer posts. All of this information combined may lead to cheaper, more effective diagnostic techniques, the researchers believe. Where mental health services are unavailable or too expensive, "this computational approach, requiring only patients' digital consent to share their social media histories, may open avenues to care which are currently difficult or impossible to provide."
Read the study in full here.
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