Feeling a little down and out lately? We suggest taking a look at the photos you have been posting on your Instagram account lately. Yes, whether we realize it or not, our social media activities can reveal a lot about our state of mind and mental well-being.
In fact, a recent study has revealed that even minute details like the colours of the filter, the words and even the emojis that you use can tell a lot about your feelings. A pair of researchers from the University of Vermont and Harvard University have developed an algorithm which might be able to spot the signs of depression.The research
For the study, which is published in the journal EPJ Data Science, the researchers surveyed around 166 participants and applied an algorithm to the 43,950 photographs posted by them on Instagram.
After combining the results, it was found the people exhibiting symptoms of depression used blue, dark and grey filters for their photographs.
They were also more likely to use dim-photos and posted images with fewer faces per photo. Not only their photos appeared sadder, but they also seemed to take more selfies. This basically pointed towards the fact that they did not spend as much time with their family, friends or even socialising as before.
The switch of filtersThe study also found that those suffering from depression were more likely to use the Inkwell filter (black and white) on Instagram. On the other hand, people who did not show signs of depression preferred using Valencia filter on social media which makes the photos warmer and brighter (aka the sun-kissed look).
According to the research, this artificial intelligence could correctly identify depression 70 per cent of the time, way better than the 40 per cent accuracy of the doctors, as per another research.
The bottom line
The best part about the research still remains the fact that an algorithm (a computer model) was able to spot the symptoms of depression before clinical diagnosis. This essentially means that in the future, this technology might be used to reach out to people suffering from a mental health condition and provide them help sooner. It could also be a great help in avoiding false diagnosis.
A word of caution
However, even though the studies show promising results, you don’t need to get worried about your Instagram images as of now. The computer model is still not a diagnostic test currently and needs a lot of fine-tuning. — Times of India