Did you know that your Instagram filter can be used to assess your state of mental health? Researchers from Harvard University and University of Vermont have found that photos’ attributes, particularly its brightness and color, can be used to correctly determine if a person is suffering from depression at a better rate than the typical doctor.
To arrive at their conclusions, the researchers looked into about 13,000 photos of 166 Instagram users, some of whom suffer from clinical depression. They used a computer system that was trained to detect the photos’ brightness, hue, vividness, and if an Instagram filter was used. After comparing photos of depressed and not depressed individuals, the computer was able to make predictions of depression.
Based on their findings, photos with decreased brightness, increased hue and decreased saturation indicated depression. The computer was able to correctly identify 70% cases of depression.
The filter Valencia, which lightens photos, was the most popular filter among those who were not depressed. Meanwhile, depressed individuals tend to use the filter Inkwell, which transforms images to black and white.
“It’s only not a good thing when the information would be sold to somebody who might make a buck from interfacing with depressed people,” said Michael Thase, Mood and Anxiety Program director at the University of Pennsylvania.
The results of the study suggests an unobtrusive and cheaper way to use social media in order to detect mental health issues. Tech companies can take advantage of the findings to build mobile apps in order to assist patients as well as their health care providers.
What Types of Exercise Can Help Treat Clinical Depression?
Studies have shown that individuals who exercise regularly have lower rates of depression. Here are some types of moderate exercise that can help individuals suffering from mild to moderate depression.
- Playing Tennis
- Low-impact tennis