By Mary Kay Kleist

(CBS) — For some people, this brutal winter can really do a number on their mood.

CBS 2’s Mary Kay Kleist tells us about a unique study that looks at how these bitter conditions affect the mind.

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“It kind of puts me down in the dumps sometimes,” says Illinois Institute of Technology student Sheree Emmanuel.

She’s one of 40 participants in a real-time study that gauges the effects this brutal winter has on mood and behavior.

“We’re really interested in the interaction between the physical changes you have in the winter and how you cope with them,” IIT’s Michael Young says.

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Researchers get instant results, since they text the multiple-choice questions.

The IIT research team hopes to better understand how seasonal depression can affect things like energy, appetite and sleep.

“The more we can learn about what are effective coping mechanisms for different kinds of problems, then those can get incorporated into cognitive behavioral  therapies that can help people with these problems,” Dr. Young says.

“I didn’t think I would be affected like that much to actually have a mood change over time throughout the week, but I actually did, so that was pretty interesting,” Emmanuel says.

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IIT is still accepting participants for this study until the end of the month. Sign up here.

Mary Kay Kleist