When we’re scrolling through our Instagram feed, we don’t always pay attention to the overall color scheme, but apparently, it can speak volumes about our mental state. According to a study published in EJP Data Science, your Instagram feed reveals if you’re depressed. We know what you’re thinking. How could it? Our phones don’t know us. But the concept is actually pretty simple.
The study notes that photographic markers of depression can be measured by associating mood and color with mental health.
It looked at a group of 166 people, suggesting that those who exhibit a healthy frame of mind identify bleak colors with negativity, and prefer to use brighter colors in their personal photos. Those who are depressed used dark colors and more blue-grayish colors.
“Depressed Instagram users in our sample had an outsized preference for filtering out all color from posted photos, and showed an aversion to artificially lightening photos, compared to non-depressed controls,” the study explained. “These results matched well with the literature linking depression and a preference for darker, bluer, and monochromatic colors.”
Are you looking at your Insta feed and assessing your photos right now? It’s okay. We are too.
The study also looked at Instagram filters and who uses them more often. They found that people who were in a positive mental state preferred using filters that lighten their photos, while those in a negative state didn’t use filters much at all, and when they did, they went for the Inkwell filter to convert their images to black and white.
Don’t panic if you have a preference for darker, more monochromatic Insta pics — this is absolutely not a diagnosis. Just a general finding.
You can read more about the study here, just don’t get TOO invested in it. If you feel confident about what you’re posting (or not posting) and what filters you’re using (or not using), that’s all that matters.