Instagram Photos May Give Clues on Mental Health

Sunday, August 13, 2017 - 03:00

Researchers at Harvard and the University of Vermont have studied that people with a history of depression share more photos, use fewer filters, and post more images that are darker and grayer in color.

According to the findings, published in the journal EPJ Data Science, Instagram and other social media sites are more tools that can be used to screen people for mental illnesses.

Researchers investigated more than 43,000 photos from 166 users, which 71 of whom had a history of depression. Based on the findings, depressed users posted more photos, and photos that tended to be “bluer, darker, and grayer.” On the other hand, Healthier users lightens the tint of photos.

The results obviously don’t apply to all Instagram users: the researchers analyzed thousands of photos, but they were from a relatively small number of people. The participants also had to meet certain criteria to be included in the study: they had to be active on Instagram, willing to share their entire Instagram posting history, as well as whether they had received an actual diagnosis of depression. Users were classified as depressed based on their responses to a standard clinical depression survey.

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