Sunday, March 16, 2014

Moon and Moods?

    I got this idea because I was watching an episode of  “The Universe” on the History Channel about the moon and one of the topics was whether the moon has an  affect on human behavior.  It has affects on tides but nothing has been scientifically proven that human behavior is affected by the moon.  In an article in Psychology Today in 2005, Marissa Kantor said that everything has been blamed on the full moon such as  increase in violent crime and psychotic behavior to stock market fluctuations.   She also stated that in 19th-century England, lawyers used the "guilty by reason of the full moon" defense so that their clients wouldn’t be held accountable for their actions because they supposedly were acting under the influence of the moon.
    In an article on the Scienceline website from 2008, it stated that in 1978,  University of Miami psychologist Arnold Lieber wrote the book The Lunar Effect: Biological Tides and Human Emotions.  “He argued that the moon influences day-to-day behavior and concluded that homicides increased during the full moon after analyzing Miami’s crime records.  Similar crime studies during that same time period, however, found no such relationship.”  The article also stated that in 1986, researchers from the University of Saskatchewan in Canada combined the results of about 100 studies and found “no causal relationship between lunar phenomena and human behavior.”  They found many statistical errors in most of papers that claimed to find a link.  They even reanalyzed Lieber’s homicide data and found no connection.  Also, more recent studies have been conducted by researchers in trying to blame the moon for things such as suicides and not finding a link.  This theory of the moon having an effect on a person’s mood is similar to the discussion we had in class about the ice cream and crime rates going up in summer.  Why is it that people would rather believe that the moon can cause a bad behavior rather than it just being a coincidence? 

Article in Psychology Today: 
Article on Scienceline website:

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