How Instagram posts can help spot depression


Posted at Aug 14 2017 11:14 AM

MANILA - The kinds of photos and filters posted in an Instagram feed can provide hints that a person may be suffering from depression, according to a US study.

People who exhibit signs of depression usually post blue or monochromatic photos and use dark filters like Inkwell and Willow, according to one of the study's authors, Harvard Psychology professor Andrew Reece.

Instagram users with signs of depression also post less human faces, indicating decreased social activity, according to the study, which analyzed 43,950 photos on 166 accounts.

"People express a lot through images and how they see the world often shows up in what they decide to post on Instagram," Reece told ANC Monday.

How Instagram posts can help spot depression 1
Filters associated with depression. Graph taken from the study

The study, however, needs more validation and testing, Reece said, adding it was done to help doctors spot signs of depression.

"If you suspect that anything might be going wrong with you or your family, friend or loved one, seek professional help. Don't rely on just any findings you hear on the news," he said.

"What I've done here is just a technology that maybe one day, somewhere down the line, after a lot more testings, might be used to help people," he said.