Instagram Photos Could Help Diagnose Mental Illnesses

Instagram Photos Could Help Diagnose Mental Illnesses

New research shows that the pictures people post to their social media accounts can indicate their mental and emotional states

Sara Roncero-Menendez
  • 2 september 2016

Mental illness can be difficult to diagnose, and even harder to detect. Researchers are hoping to use social media to better find and help those in need, and a new report says that pictures posted to Instagram can point to potential. In a study published in arXiv, Harvard Ph.D candidate Andrew G. Reece and University of Vermont professor Christopher M. Danforth looked at 170 Amazon Mechanical Turk workers, 70 of whom were clinically depressed at the time. These workers completed a survey, and from there, their Instagram accounts were analyzed by an algorithm looking for patterns for those who were not depressed as well as photos taken before the diagnosis in the case of those who were depressed.

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