Most of us only put the good parts of our lives on social media.
We curate our lives carefully so others see what we want them to see. But even when everything looks okay on the surface, there can be more going on underneath that we don’t get to see. As it turns out, however, we might not be hiding our feelings as well as we think. Based on Instagram photos alone, a computer was able to diagnose depression more accurately than a doctor using just a few criteria. This is pretty astounding, and it could help people in the future.
A computer could diagnose a user’s depression accurately 70 percent of the time when given access to Instagram. Doctors could only do this with 42 percent accuracy. What was the difference?
It comes down to filters. People who preferred dark or blue filters were more likely to be depressed than those who used brighter colors.
People suffering from depression posted more photos, but they were less likely to feature people in the pictures, including themselves.
Surprisingly, people with depression also had more comments and likes. This may mean that friends and family were reaching out more on social media when they couldn’t in real life.
Of course, some people just love black and white pictures. But in the future, being able to scan social media accounts quickly could become part of a routine medical exam.
General practitioners are notoriously unreliable, especially when it comes to mental health, so the implications of the study could help so many people in the future.
(via IFL Science)