This study contributes knowledge on the detection of depression through handwriting/drawing features, to identify quantitative and noninvasive indicators of the disorder for implementing algorithms for its automatic detection. For this purpose, an original online approach was adopted to provide a dynamic evaluation of handwriting/drawing performance of healthy participants with no history of any psychiatric disorders (n 1/4 28), and patients with a clinical diagnosis of depression (n 1/4 27). Both groups were asked to complete seven tasks requiring either the writing or drawing on a paper while five handwriting/drawing features’ categories (i.e. pressure on the paper, time, ductus, space among characters, and pen inclination) were recorded by using a digitalized tablet. The collected records were statistically analyzed. Results showed that, except for pressure, all the considered features, successfully discriminate between depressed and nondepressed subjects. In addition, it was observed that depression affects different writing/drawing functionalities. These findings suggest the adoption of writing/drawing tasks in the clinical practice as tools to support the current depression detection methods. This would have important repercussions on reducing the diagnostic times and treatment formulation.
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