According to studies, it is believed that the full moon has a direct connection with human behavior. Is this true? Let’s find it out.
Popular cultures in western societies believe that the phases of the moon have strong control over human behavior. It is commonly heard that the full moon increases criminal behavior.
A study published in 2009 revealed that over 23,000 cases of assaults that took place between 1995 and 2005 have no relation with various lunar phases. Also, a study in 2016 published that both indoor and outdoor crimes committed in 13 US states and the District of Columbia in 2014 has no connection to lunar cycles. But they did find, the light of the moon has a positive effect on crimes.
For years, people who work in emergency services have claimed that full moon nights are more dangerous in comparison to the nights when the moon is dim.
But criminologists explain that the link between crime and moon phase is just about thinking. When it is a full moon, there will be more light, and thus it would be easier to commit a crime. Therefore, during a full or super moon, they expect a change in people’s behavior and pay more attention to them.
Most of the people believe that the moon cycle or lunar cycle strongly affects human behavior. But before going deep into it, let us first understand what Lunar Cycle is.
The term moon cycle or lunar cycle refers to the continuous movement of a moon’s orbit around the earth. As it revolves around the earth, its appearance changes and indicates the moon’s progress in the cycle.
But do you know the shape of the moon doesn’t change? The different shapes of the moon that we see are due to the changes in the positions of Sun and Earth. What you see from Earth shows another story. The phase of the moon starts with a dark new Moon (it is not visible). As the moon continues to rotate around Earth, more and more part of the moon becomes visible until it reaches the full moon stage.
Also, the word ‘Lunacy’ is derived from the word ‘lunaticus’ meaning “of the moon” which shows connectivity that a full moon causes wildly unpredictable behavior.
Let us know the different phases of the moon.
It occurs when the moon is directly between the Sun and the Earth.
It occurs when the moon looks like a crescent, and it increases in size. The waxing crescent moon is usually seen in the west.
Half moon or the first quarter of the moon occurs when the half portion of the moon is visible after the waxing crescent phase. This phase usually appears a week after the new moon.
It occurs between half moon and full moon. Just after you see the half face of the moon illuminated, the next phase waxing Gibbous moon starts.
Full moon, as the name implies, occurs when you see the entire illuminating portion of the moon. This phase occurs when the moon is exactly on the opposite side of the Earth from the Sun. The full moon is associated with insomnia, insanity, and lycanthropy.
The studies about the full moon are generally not true, with some showing negative effects and other positive effects.
It occurs when more than half illuminated portion of the moon can be seen. This phase is seen between the third quarter and full moon.
Half moon or the last quarter moon is when half of the illuminated portion of the moon is seen after the waning gibbous phase.
This phase occurs when the illuminated part of the moon decreases in size. It repeats every 29.531 days, i.e., one synodic month. (14.1)
Apart from the scientific explanation discussed above, the term Lunar Cycle is also heard in astrological circles. According to the astrologers, the moon’s cycle has a strong effect on the way how we feel. For instance, when the moon is full, people can experience changes in their behavior and mood.
The stress becomes an important factor, and people become sensitive to details. They become frustrated and deal with their own needs rather than focusing on others. A new moon, on the other hand, brings back people’s emotions and uses their energy on others.
The belief that the lunar cycle is linked with the psychiatric symptoms has continued to raise the questions since ages. Today also, mental health professionals report that the psychiatric symptoms developed by the full moon results in homicides, increased sexual desire, epilepsy, menstruation, and suicides.
Everything right from psychotic behavior to crime and stock market fluctuations has been analyzed on the consequences of the fully illuminated moon. The traditional beliefs have long association the moon’s phase with strange happenings such as the nocturnal behavior of men who turned into werewolves.
Eric Chudler, a Research Associate Professor at the University of Washington in Seattle after research, shared the links between lunar cycles and human behavior. He shows the signs of animal bites, accidents, violence and aggression, crime and other activities increase during the full moon.
According to him,
“Perhaps one of the first things you notice about [lunar] studies is that the results are inconsistent. Some studies show a particular behavior will occur more often during the full moon and other studies show no relationship between the behavior and the full moon.”
“Although most experiments fail to show a relationship between the phase of the moon and abnormal behavior, the belief in the 'lunar effect' is still strong among many people. Unfortunately, the occasional newspaper story that describes strange behaviors during a full moon only reinforces this myth.”
He further explains that there could be several reasons why some studies show a connection between human madness and full moons. There are chances that studies tested a few people for a short period and didn’t analyze their data with statistical tests or did not take into consideration when a full moon appeared on holiday, the day when usually behavior of people changes.
He explained that it is impossible to prove a direct link and effect between bad moon rising and criminal psychology.
“The one thing to realize about all these studies [that support a connection] is that correlation does not mean causation,". “Even if a [research] paper showed a correlation, which most do not, it wouldn't mean the moon caused the behavior."
He further added-
“To show causation, we would have to perform an experiment and control all the factors except for the moon. So, for example, you would take someone to a place with no full moons like on another planet and then compare the behavior to someone in the exact situation where the moon is full."
He again explained the difference between correlation and causation by giving an example.
"If you looked for a relationship between the number of points scored by a basketball team and the number of books checked out of a library on different days, you might find a significant relationship. This doesn't mean the score of the basketball game caused people to check out library books or that checking out library books caused the basketball team to score more points. The reason why these two activities vary in a similar fashion is completely unknown and untested. It just happens that the two measurements vary in a related fashion.”
Many researchers who researched on lunar cycle has found no relationship between psychiatric representations and lunar activity.
For instance, Ivan Kelly and Roger Culver in their study “The Moon was Full and Nothing Happened” published in the book “The Hundredth Monkey and Other Paradigms of the Paranormal,” examined over 100 studies and found there is no relation between the crimes and phases of the moon.
The incidences of the crimes recorded in three police stations in different areas showed that the crimes have a relationship with the lunar cycle. The crime rates on full moon day were higher in comparison to the new moon and other days.
The incidences of crime on solstice days does not vary much from those on other days. This means that the sun does not have any impact on the crime. It is believed that the increased rates of crime on full moon days may be due to human tidal waves which are caused by the gravitational pull of the moon. (14.2)
There is a good reason why more crimes happen on the full moon. Beautiful full moon attracts everyone and extends the day for travel and other activities.
Even though there is no actual proof showing the adverse effects of the lunar cycle on human behavior, over 80% of mental health professionals believe that it is strongly related to human behavior.
The answer is still a mystery. But it is concluded that the illuminated moon has played an important role for our forefathers as both a night-light and calendar.
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