You think you're sharing on Instagram a look at a day in the life of you, but you may be revealing something you might not even know about yourself.
A study published by University of Vermont mathematician Chris Danforth found Instagram could reveal or even predict depression.
166 volunteers, about half of whom admitted to having clinical depression, were studied by computer models to analyze tens of thousands of posted photos.
“People who were depressed tended to be darker, and bluer pictures than those posted by healthy people,” Danforth said. “And depressed people were less likely to use filters overall than healthy people by a fair amount.”
The filter Inkwell, which makes pictures a dark, black and white, was used more often by the people who expressed feelings of depression.
Lighter and brighter filters, like Valencia and X-Pro II, were used by the volunteers who felt happier.
Nashville and Sierra filters fell on the lower end of the happy, healthier participants.
Danforth says that maybe one day technology could use this as a detection of mental illness.
“If all of this fed into some very smart algorithm, and there were appropriate protocols set up for this, then your doctor might get a ping that it's time to talk to you,” Danforth said.
That is why Danforth says there's good reason for more study of social media as a health screening tool.