Never miss a great news story!
Get instant notifications from Economic Times
AllowNot now


You can switch off notifications anytime using browser settings.
10,817.60-185.9
Stock Analysis, IPO, Mutual Funds, Bonds & More

Colourless pictures, negative expressions: How a person's tweets can indicate depression

Depressed users often posted photos only of their own faces with no family or friends.

ANI|
May 16, 2019, 05.54 PM IST
0Comments
Agencies
hiding tweets
WASHINGTON DC: Twitter users with depression and anxiety tend to post pictures with lower aesthetic values and less vivid colours, particularly images in grayscale, recent findings suggest.

As part of a recent study, researchers found that these users tend to suppress positive emotions rather than outwardly display more negative emotions, such as keeping a straight face instead of outright frowning, in their profile pictures.

The study sought to utilise computer vision and artificial intelligence to determine what qualities of photos posted to and set as profile images on Twitter could be associated with depression and anxiety, with an eye toward using the platform as a method of screening for both.

In 2018, Penn Medicine researchers found that depression could be predicted as many as three months before diagnosis by using artificial intelligence to identify keywords that flagged certain users.

Depression1


As social media is becoming increasingly image-focused--more than half of all tweets, 3,000-plus of them per second, now contain an image--the value in gaining clues on health conditions through image content will become increasingly valuable to medicine.

"While the association between depression and language-use patterns is well-studied, the visual aspects of depression has not been. It is challenging to transform pixels that form the images to interpretable features, but with the advances in computer vision algorithms, we are now attempting to uncover another dimension of the condition as it manifests online," said Sharath Guntuku, PhD, a research scientist with Penn Medicine's Center for Digital Health and lead author of the study.

The research used algorithms to extract features such as colours, facial expressions, and different aesthetic measures (such as depth of field, symmetry, and lighting) from images posted by more than 4,000 Twitter users who consented to be a part of the study.

Facebook, Twitter Instagram: Tips & Tricks To Keep Social Media Private

of 9
Next
Prev
Play Slideshow

Protect Data

21 Feb, 2019
It seems counter intuitive – after all, social media helps you share your opinions and speak to a larger audience. But thanks to rampant identity theft and online stalking, there is a solid argument to be made to target your social posts instead of keeping them public. Karan Bajaj shows you how.
Next


To quickly categorise their depression and anxiety scores, they analysed each person's last 3,200 tweets. Meanwhile, 887 users also completed a traditional survey to obtain depression and anxiety scores. Then, image features were correlated with users' depression and anxiety scores. From this, several significant relationships emerged.

In addition to finding an association between depression and anxiety and those who posted less vivid photos, the researchers also discovered that profile images of anxious users are marked by grayscale and low aesthetic cohesion, but less so than those of depressed users.

There was also something to be interpreted in what was not included in photos. Depressed users often posted photos only of their own faces with no family, friends, or other people appearing in them. Additionally, the posts rarely included recreational activities or interests, which more often showed up in photos of non-depressed users.
Want stories like this in your inbox? Sign up for the daily ET Panache newsletter.

You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Also Read

Acne stressing you out? It can increase risk of depression as well

Working with pets every day can increase risk of depression

Want to treat depression faster? New nasal spray more effective than anti-depressants

Dealing with persistent body ache, joint pain? Could be a sign of depression

Getting vocal: Now, AI can spot depression through your voice

Comments
Add Your Comments
Commenting feature is disabled in your country/region.
Download The Economic Times News App for Quarterly Results, Latest News in ITR, Business, Share Market, Live Sensex News & More.

Other useful Links


Follow us on


Download et app


Copyright © 2019 Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. All rights reserved. For reprint rights: Times Syndication Service