They have trained a machine than can scan through uploaded Instagram images and identify depression.
The researchers said the connection between the colors a person uses and his/her mental state exists.
Darker or grayer colors represent negative moods while lighter, brighter colors represent positive moods.
Surveyed 170 workers
Reportedly, the scientists chose 170 Amazon Mechanical Turk Service workers to conduct the test. All of them had Instagram accounts while 70 of them were clinically depressed.
How were the participants tested?
All the participants were given a questionnaire, including a standard clinical depression survey.
The participants were asked to share images from their respective Instagram accounts.
About 100 pictures from each participating Instagram user were selected.
The raters were asked to rate each of those images on a 0-5 scale based on how happy, sad, likable or interesting the image seemed.
The researchers reportedly evaluated each photo using objective measures like color saturation, hue, contrast, how vivid the image is, faded or gray, etc. The number of faces each photo had was also taken into account to assess the user's social activity.
The algorithm had a 70% success rate
Using all the collected data, the scientists used a machine-learning algorithm to identify correlations between photos and depression.
It was found increased hue, decreased saturation and brightness predicted depression.
The study also showed non-depressed, and depressed people use filters differently; depressed individuals aren't likely to use filters.
The algorithm was correctly able to spot depression with a 70% success rate, according to the scientists.