Depression is a complex disorder of which very little is known, since many factors may be acting in a cross-related manner. However, one of the keys to predicting depression could be in the type of stimuli we pay attention to, according to a team of researchers at Binghamton University.


This team of scientists conducted an experiment using as a sample group 160 women, 60 of whom had been diagnosed with depression at some point in their lives. Each of these volunteers had to look at two types of images: a face with a neutral expression and another face that could show a state of sadness, anger, or joy.

Thanks to a tracking system, the researchers were able to monitor the route of the eyes and see the points of each set of images that generated more interest in women. In this way, they could analyze the results obtained for each person and put them in relation to their history, finding that the volunteers with diagnosed depression tended to look more at the faces that showed anger.

Looking More Towards Faces Of Anger Indicates A Greater Risk Of Depression

However, the most interesting from a practical point of view is another of the results which were obtained. The researchers followed up on these 60 women in the “depression” group and found that those who had tended to focus more on the angry faces during the experiment showed a greater risk of relapsing into another crisis during the next two years. It was also recorded that these women were more likely going through another stage of depression before the rest of the volunteers.

In a way, this means that simply paying attention to certain negative aspects of relationships with others could increase the chances of developing depression. Thus, creating intervention programs in which people are trained in modifying their patterns of care could be useful to, in a way, make it easier for them to see the good side of life.

But, in the short term, the most important thing is that this simple test of the faces could help detect those cases in which there is a greater risk of developing depression and take appropriate measures before it happens.


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