Facebook is used by 2.2 billion users all over the world. We use it for sharing all kinds of stuff from party pictures to cat photos you name it. Researchers have discovered this week your Facebook status updates posts can go to reveal a lot of hidden information about your mental health.
According to the researched report in this week’s Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, they analyzed a few study participants. Their research found Facebook status updates predicts future diagnoses of depression.
The researchers felt this technique can be used to develop a screening tool that can help identify people in need of mental health support and formal diagnosis. Though it also raises question-related to health privacy.
Earlier also there have been several studies conducted to study the behavior of human and Facebook. Such a test has been conducted with or without the concern of the people being examined. Recently Cambridge Analytics used the date of nearly 87 million people to create personality profiles in a bid to help marketers and political campaigns deliver more effective advertisements.
Carrying out research with Facebook data is not easy as it involves the study of a large number of participants. Easier said than done researchers need their consent, log into their accounts and share their data—all in person—to provide one-time access to said data. Daunting task yet it can be worthy for the social science researchers involved, as they believe Facebook’s collection of user information is the most significant data repository in the history of their field.
University of Pennsylvania psychologist Johannes Eichstaedt, first author of the new PNAS study and co-founder of the World Well-Being Project said – “We’re increasingly understanding that what people do online is a form of behavior we can read with machine learning algorithms, the same way we can read any other kind of data in the world.”
The researchers needed access two personal form of data ie Social media accounts and electronic medical records. This will enable then to predict a depression diagnosis. Their studies were conducted over a period of 26 months. With more than 11000 patients from Philadelphia emergency department involved and willing to share their EMR’s and upto seven years of Facebook status updates.
With almost 6 American suffer from depression, the researchers found that people with depression used more “I” language (i.e. first-person singular pronouns). Words reflecting hostility and loneliness in the months preceding their clinical diagnosis. The researchers were able to predict future depression diagnoses as much as three months before its appearance in their medical records by training their algorithm to identify these languages
Finally, Eichstaedt agrees and says “It would be irresponsible to take this tool and use it to say: You’re depressed, you’re not depressed” . What it could be suitable for is finding people who should follow up with more formal—and often more costly—screening methods. He adds that future studies will need to reproduce his team’s findings in larger, more diverse populations (the participants in this study were predominantly black women).
- Rs 181 Prepaid Recharge Plan
- Get 4 Months Broadband Internet Free
- BSNL Introduces Rs666/- “Sixer” Plan