The algorithm has shown to be 70 percent accurate in determining depression in people who use specific Instagram filters
Since social media burst onto the scene, we get a good insight into other people’s lives far more than we used to but according to a new study, scientists have come up with an algorithm that can detect whether you are suffering from depression using your Instagram feed.
The research conducted by Andrew Reece of Harvard University and Chris Danforth of the University of Vermont has found there is a connection between the use of color in an Instagram photo and the mental state of a person. In other words, the darker or more gray your filter use is, the more likely you will suffer from some type of depression.
Any avid Instagram users will know that the photo-feed app provides around 23 different filters that you can apply on top of your photo. One of these is a grayscale option called Inkwell and the researchers have determined the more a person uses this particular black and white option, the more depressed they are likely to be.
The study involved 170 people who were asked to answer questions that included a standard clinical depression survey and also to share photos from their Instagram feed. People were then asked to rate 100 photos from each person noting how sad, happy or interesting the photos were as well as commenting on filter use and number of faces in each picture.
The algorithm found that people who used less bright filters or no filters at all were more prone to depression and it predicted this with 70 percent accuracy.
The study hopes to be able to help in detecting mental illness in its early stages paving the way for a more effective diagnosis in patients and shows the psychological advantages of researching social media habits.
“More generally, these findings support the notion that major changes in individual psychology are transmitted in social media use, and can be identified via computational methods,” explained the research team.