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IIT Researchers Using Smart Phones To Study Seasonal Depression

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CHICAGO (CBS) – Researchers at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago are hoping your smartphone can help them decode the mysteries of seasonal depression.

IIT psychology professor Michael Young is leading the research project. He says once upon a time, he and his colleagues would have to study seasonal behavior by giving participants pagers.

“I don’t even think people have pagers any more,” Young said.

That means he and his team hope smart-phone users can help with their latest study on how winter weather affect people’s moods and behavior.

Young says participants will get a text message asking them to click on a link, which then will take them to an online survey.

“They fill out questions about how tired they’ve been feeling and what they did about it … how hungry they’ve been feeling and what they did about it … and what their mood was like,” he says.

Participants will send in their answers five times a day for a week, and Young says his team will be able to calculate, “how different kinds of coping mechanisms lead to better or worse moods.”

They’re hoping to get 50 participants by the end of February, and results of the survey will be available this spring.

To get more information about the study, click here.

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