A recent study conducted by research team from the Harvard University and University of Vermont, in the United States have introduced a new system based on algorithms that analysis images posted on the social media application, Instagram, and detects symptoms of depression and other mental health diseases as they are at their early stage.
The research conducted suggests that those with depression or with an unstable state of mind, are more like to post pictures in darker, more saturated hues. Whereas others with a healthy or an average mental condition, usually opt for uploading images with brighter and vibrant colours. The study also highlights the fact that, those who are happy and mentally stable prefer using Instagram filters for their images, whereas, it is highly likely that people suffering with depression will not make use of the filters made available to them. Another thing observed by the researchers were the number of people that were a part of the images submitted.
For the analysis of the aforementioned case study, an experiment was conducted on 170 employees of the Mechanical Turk services from the Amazon. These workers were made to participate in an questionnaire based analysis which also included the basic questions asked during survey of clinical depression. Followed by the questionnaire, this group was asked to submit 100 photos, each, from their Instagram accounts. These images were presented before researchers and were rated. Based on their features, researchers had to answer if a photo looked happy, sad or interesting.The images were, then, tallied with the conclusion to the answer sheets filled in by the employees, proving their case study. There has been a 70% success rate with this new algorithm program.
Hence, the research concluded with pointing out that people suffering with depression post pictures with darker, grey shades, lower hues and saturation. This study can, possibly, be used to detect depression and mental illnesses, in the near future.