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02/01/2013

Facebook activity can reveal mental health clues

What people post on Facebook can provide insight into someone's mental health, a new study suggests.

Researchers say that the things people post – and even the things they don't – can provide an indication of their psychological health.

The study, conducted by the University of Missouri, asked 200 students to print out their Facebook activity. The students were also given the option of blacking out portions of their posts they didn't want to share with the researchers.

What they found is that some of the students showed signs of social anhedonia. If you don't speak in medical terms, that condition suggests a person has the inability to experience pleasure from usually enjoyable activities.

The researchers said in a statement that those with social anhedonia would do the following things on Facebook: post fewer photos, have fewer friends and communicate with those friends less often.

They also found that people who black out major chunks of their Facebook activity before submitting it to the researchers exhibited perceptual aberrations.

According to the experts, that is “anomalous experiences of one’s senses, and magical ideation, which is the belief that events with no physical cause-and-effect are somehow causally connected.”

Are you going to think twice about your Facebook activity based on the results of this study?

- Maurice Cacho, MSN Tech & Gadgets

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Danny BradburyDanny Bradbury

Danny Bradbury is a technology journalist with 20 years' experience. He writes regularly for publications including the Guardian, the Financial Times, the Financial Post, and Backbone magazine. Danny also writes and directs documentaries.

Maurice CachoMaurice Cacho

Maurice Cacho is a Toronto-based journalist mixing his love for tech with a passion for news. He's also CP24's Web Journalist and appears daily on CP24 Breakfast and weekly on the channel's tech show, Webnation, discussing tech news and trends.

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