Your Instagram Photos May Reveal Whether Or Not You Have Depression

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And it was so successful that they were able to develop a program that can diagnose depression with 70% accuracy, compared to an average of 42% correct unassisted diagnosis by Global Positioning System. Among healthy users, we observed that the most popular filter was Valencia, which gives photos a warmer, brighter feel.

The volunteers were chosen so that half had been clinically diagnosed with depression sometime in the last three years.

In addition to hue and level of color in the photos, the results showed depressed participants were more likely to post photos with faces in them but on average they had fewer faces in the photos they posted.

Researchers from the University of Vermont and Harvard developed a computer algorithm that was able to identify individuals with signs of depression by the types of images they share on social media.

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"Photos posted by people with depression tended to be darker in color, received more comments from the community, were more likely to contain faces and less likely to have a filter applied", study co-author and codirector of the University of Vermont's Computational Story Lab, Dr. Christopher Danforth said in a statement. The volunteers provided the researchers with information about past diagnoses of depression and responded to a questionnaire created to assess a person's level of depression.

The colors in the photographs we post on Instagram may be indicative of what mood we're in, according to a new study.

They found those photos were often darker, bluer and grayer. Using a photo filter was less common among the individuals with depression diagnoses than among those without it.

The research was done in two stages: the first was about identifying the clues on Instagram photos that suggests the user might be depressed, while the second stage involved teaching the computer to detect those people using machine learning algorithms.

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The methodology used meant that people with depression were correctly identified 70 percent of the time.

The scientists claim that artificial intelligence performed better, with Danforth saying: "Obviously you know your friends better than a computer". Ideally, Danforth says the best outcome of technology like this is getting those individuals the medical support that they need.

"We were looking for subtle patterns associated with depression, and that required sifting through a lot of data to be confident about what we were seeing", Reece said.

We do feel strongly that there's an important ethical discussion that must occur in step with these technological developments, regarding data privacy and the implications of applying sophisticated analytical tools in an online medium which doesn't forget. "This study is not yet a diagnostic test, not by a long shot", Danforth says, "but it is a proof of concept of a new way to help people".

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