Quantified Self

Can an iPhone App Relieve Depression? The Developers of ‘HappyPlace’ Think So

No word on how it stacks up against an entire pint of chocolate ice cream to the face.
(Photo: Zazzle)

(Photo: Zazzle)

Just in time for your annual winter doldrums, a new app called HappyPlace purports to manage your moods and even combat bummed out feelings, the Guardian reports.

The app’s functions are based on research suggesting that depression could be caused or maintained by biased ways of thinking, “particularly around the processing of ambiguous faces,” the Guardian says. In other words, you should probably move out of New York City because other people’s resting bitchfaces could be making you depressed.

Evidence is proving that emotional face recognition tasks could improve people’s moods, so the app asks users to rank faces on a continuum from happy to sad, the Guardian says. The app then gives biased feedback to make users believe some faces aren’t as pissy as they appear, which apparently can lift users’ moods.

It sounds a little dubious to us, but if it works, that’s great. Ranking facial expressions is a lot less invasive than a round of SSRIs.

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