If you've ever suffered from depression, you know how impactful it can be on your outlook on life. You experience everything in a more negative way, and you tend to jump from zero to emotional pretty quickly.
Sadly, depression has become a much more common illness in America over the last decade. One out of every 10 Americans will suffer a bout of it at least once in their lives. While you can live with various forms of depression, it does affect every aspect of your life, and can seriously impact your productivity and personal relationships.
Without thinking about it, which face from the image above did your eyes land on first? If it was the angry-looking one, you may have a greater chance of becoming depressed at some point in your life. Essentially, the study at Binghamton took 160 women and performed this same test with them several times over. A computer would generate the images, and the women would have to click on the picture they instinctually looked at first. There was also an eye sensor monitoring their eye movements, in case the women weren't giving perfectly honest answers.
Out of the 100 women, 60 had a history of depression. Overall, the results showed that the women who had already experienced depression at one time or another in their lives tended to pick the angry faces over the neutral or happy ones. This is pretty eye-opening, because it means that how we receive emotional information in our lives can tell a great deal about our own emotional make-up.
However, the research went a bit deeper than that. They kept tabs on the previously depressed women who tended to look at angry faces first and found they were more likely to get depressed in the two years following the study. This makes sense, because 80 percent of people who've previously suffered from depression relapse at some point in the future.
The silver lining here is that depression is very treatable. According to Mental Health of America, over 70 percent of people diagnosed with clinical depression are cured with the help of therapy and prescription medication. However, less than half of those affected actually seek out treatment. It's common for people to think depression is just something you deal with on your own, and doesn't require medical attention. Oftentimes, this has to do with people thinking it's a weakness, and are thus ashamed to get help.
The scientists at Binghamton hope to be able to use the elements of this study to help refocus those who have a higher risk of depression on happier images. Perhaps if the mind is retrained before the onset of depression, the likelihood of contracting the illness will diminish? Just a positive thought.
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