Depression makes world look Dull

Depression literally converts the world in all shades of Gray and Black

A depressed person often says that the world looks dull and gray and flowers no longer smell sweet. He might seem to speak figuratively, but now there is some truth in it. According to two recent studies conducted in Germany there are concrete evidences that sensory perception is diminished in depressed individuals.

The study was conducted by neuropsychiatrist Ludger Tebartz van Elst of the University of Freiburg. He tied up depressed patients and controlled subjects to a pattern electroretinograph which is a device to measure electrical signals in the retina. When viewing black-and-white checkerboard images, people who had depression showed lesser electrical impulses as compared to the other controlled subjects.

As per Tebartz van Elst, using this technique, it would be easy to diagnose depression without the need of the patient to open up verbally. They just need to keep their eyes  open and the test can be performed.

Top findings of this Study on Depression grays and blues


In the study below are the key findings which the scientists measured:

  1. People with major depression were not able to detect differences in black-and-white contrasts on the checkerboards.
  2. People with no depression were able to identify the changes in pattern and contrasts on checkerboard very effectively.
  3. The level of activity on the retina was lowest in the person with worst depression.
  4. The depressed patients had dramatically lower retinal responses to the varying black-and-white contrasts than healthy individuals.
  5. The results held regardless of whether patients were taking antidepressants.

The retina ECG shows the response of neurons inside the retinal cells. It is not the conscious vision, but a very much earlier response of the retina to changing patterns.