HealthWatch: Your Social Media Posts May Give Clues About Your Mental Health

BOSTON (CBS) — The photos you post on social media may say a lot about your mental health.

Researchers at the University of Vermont and Harvard University used computers to analyze more than 40,000 photos on the Instagram feeds of 166 volunteers looking for brightness, color, and shading.

Volunteers with depression were more likely to post black and white photos or ones with bluer, grayer or darker filters while healthy volunteers posted photos with warmer, brighter tones.

They also found that even though people with depression were more likely to post photos with faces, those photos had fewer faces, in general, suggesting they had smaller social circles or perhaps posted more selfies.

Remarkably, the computers were more reliable at detecting depression than most general practitioners, which means this could end up being a new low-cost screening tool for the diagnosis of depression.

More from Dr. Mallika Marshall
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