What your Instagram posts might reveal about experiencing depression

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Whether you realize it or not, you leave a trail of clues about your mental health on social media. Emerging research suggests that words, characters, and even emoji can reveal information about people’s moods and mental well-being. 

That might seem obvious when it comes to explicitly emotional posts, but information about mental health can be embedded in even the most standard of social media messages — and a new field of data science is trying to understand how to detect and interpret those signals. 

In a new study published in EPJ Data Science, two researchers accessed the Instagram accounts of 166 volunteers and then applied machine learning to their collective 43,950 images in order to identify and predict depression. By comparing those predictions to each individual’s clinical diagnosis, the researchers discovered that their model outperformed the average rate of physicians accurately diagnosing depression in patients.   Read more…

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