These Are The Instagram Filters People Use That Are More Likely Linked To Depression

by 2 years ago

It turns out that which filter you use to spruce up your photo of chicken tikka masala on Instagram may be an indicator of whether you are depressed or not. A new study has found that there is a real correlation to particular filters and colors of Instagram photos to depression.

Researchers from the Harvard University psychology department utilized computer software that was designed to scan Instagram photos for hidden signals that would identify depression. Researchers studied nearly 44,000 photos from 166 people and were also informed of their mental health history. The team wound up collecting almost 44,000 photos from these volunteers, as well as responses to individual questionnaires assessing their level of depression. The software accurately diagnosed people with depression 7 out of 10 times, said lead researcher Andrew Reece. This is an outstanding percentage since general practitioners correctly diagnose depression in patients about 42% of the time. There were certain telltale visual attributes that pointed to depressed people.

“Depressed individuals in our study posted photos that were bluer, darker and grayer, compared to the posts of healthy participants,” Reece said. “Depressed people also tended to prefer Instagram’s Inkwell filter, which turns a color image into black-and-white, whereas healthy participants preferred the Valencia filter, which gives photos a warmer, brighter tone.” Not very surprising that depressed individuals made their photos gloomy, devoid of color, and gray. Meanwhile, happy people posted colorful and cheery pics on Instagram.

The study found another significant trait of Instagram photos of those who were depressed – fewer photos of faces. That is believed to be because unhappy people want to engage less on social media.

“It’s clear that depression isn’t easy to diagnose, and the computational approach we’ve taken here may end up assisting, rather than competing with, health care professionals as they seek to make accurate mental health assessments,” Reece said.

“There are reasons why depression is called blue, and why people associate red with raging, and why people say depression is like a dark or black cloud,” said Dr. Igor Galynker, the associate chairman for research at Mount Sinai Beth Israel’s psychiatry department in New York City. “Patients with depression choose to wear darker colors. They generally avoid bright stimulation altogether.”

Since it is extremely difficult to predict when someone will commit suicide, experts believe this revelation could help prevent tragedies in the future. “It is nearly impossible to predict suicide,” Galynker said. “If machine learning could predict who is potentially suicidal — based on what they say, what colors they use — that would be incredibly important.”

If you or someone you know is suffering from depression and are in need of immediate help, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or click HERE.


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