Full Moon Myth Debunked


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full_moon354.jpg

"It must be a full moon."

This is a common phrase heard in professions of dealing with emergencies, from police officers to emergency room nurses and doctors. Many claim that during a full moon, there is a tendency for people to act strangely and more aggressively. The legend is that the full moon brings out the worst in people, meaning more accidents, more violence, and more reckless behavior. Is there any scientific evidence to explain this popular myth?

                Studies have been done that analyze records of hospital room visits to attempt to find a correlation between periods of high occupancy and the lunar cycle. Researchers examined over 160,000 records of emergency room visits and found no difference between a full moon and any other night. The same result was found when looking at surgery incidence. Doctors are no more likely to mess up during a surgery no matter what point the lunar cycle is at. A study conducted in 2005 by Mayo Clinic researchers reported that there was no major jump of people coming in during a full moon compared to any other night. The only positive correlation found with the full moon was pet injuries. According to Colorado State University Veterinary Medical Center, researchers found that based on around 12,000 cases of animal emergency visits, there was a 23% higher chance for cats and a 28% higher chance for dogs.                       

                Though there is not much scientific evidence in favor of the full moon myth, it still persists. Some who favor the myth argue that because the body is made of 75% water, the moon's gravitational pull may be affecting us more when moon is full. However, scientists argue that the pull of the moon on our bodies is minimal and is not strong enough to measurably change anything. Another possible explanation for the myth is that when people know there is a full moon they're more likely to note weird encounters when they're more aware of them. Have you heard of the full moon myth? Do you find to encounter more unusual circumstances with people during a full moon? Do you believe there is an explanation even if science hasn't found it yet?


Works Cited:

http://www.livescience.com/7899-moon-myths-truth-lunar-effects.html

http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2012/03/27/3464601.htm

6 Comments

This blog is so interesting.~ I like to read the science fiction, in many instances there would be sayings like that,"It was a full-moon midnight, the boy began to change, from a human-being to wolf.." As the thoughts you mentioned in this article, the full moon brings out the worst in people, meaning more accidents, more violence, and more reckless behavior. Due to your conclusion, there is not much scientific evidence in favor of the full moon myth, but it still persist. However, due to my research,I found that most of the studies on the patient confirm that myth of lunar cycle driving us mad is false... According to a patient study by psychologists at Université Laval in Québec City, Canada, they analysed 771 patients admitted to emergency wards over three years, in particular those with psychological problems, and found they were no more likely to come in during a full or new moon.
I do believe that there may be something different when the full moon appears, and according to another study we could find that doctors claim more mental health patients come in at full moon, there's lack of evience to prove if there are direct correlation between the two events....I will keep catching up with this topic.


I feel like the correlation between animal injuries and full moons is a good example of sharp shooting in this study. The study's primary focus was the effect of a full moon on people. In failing to show a connection it appears they searched for anything correlating with the full moon that would support their original theory. The idea of animal injury supports their original idea because science loves to compare human behavior to that of animals and act like their is a direct connection. Much in the same way an uproar was caused because someone found a group of birds with lesbian tendencies. With humans being so socialized is it still legitimate to make comparisons like this to animals?

It's clear that studies that like these have a lot of room for error. None of the studies have been conclusive or reproduced. Claims like these are myths. It's just interesting that myths can persist for so long despite no scientific evidence. Why do so many myths persist? The Livescience article itself mentions that "our expectations influence our perceptions." This reminds me of the discussion in class about science fraud and ideology. Sure, there's no scientific fraud in these studies but one of the things that play a role in science going wrong is when ideology is more important than data. When it comes to myths that's exactly what the case is. Some people firmly believe something and through word of mouth it is passed down to a lot of people. So what makes the full moon lunacy theory still so popular? Perhaps it’s the media, who know people are more likely to read a crime story if some police officer blames it on the moon. Or maybe people just want to hold onto an urban legend that’s been around for hundreds of years. A more scientific answer may be selective memory. Maybe we are more inclined to remember when something happens if we see a full moon, it's more simple than remembering it was a new, 1st Quarter, full, last or 3rd Quarter.

I definitely don't believe in the full moon myth. My mother is a nurse and she can confirm that there's no actual evidence behind this. I feel like it's just simply something for people to say when things go wrong that day. This article I took a look at explains that there really is no psychological correlation to things that happen on a full moon.

http://www.breakingchristiannews.com/articles/display_art.html?ID=10800

i don't really believe in myths. i like to see facts, and whenever there are myths that are a little exaggerated or occur by chance or coincidence i think is usually for publicity just to obtain attention. but your post is definitely interesting.

This is interesting to say the least. I do think on humans it is just a myth, but maybe not. I feel like maybe animals are more affected because of their natural instincts. Does the full moon signal something to them?

I found this very interesting article that makes some sense as to why animals do have more of a correlation. It points out several cool points.

1) The moon creates the tides... so organisms and animals that have a life affected by the tides will have an internal clock adjusted to the tide changes even when removed from them.

2) Animals use the moon as light. The animals will be more likely to hide if it is darker, and since a full moon produces the most light, they'll be more likely to explore (the natural instinct is that more light provides better hunting). Because they're more active in more light, that could be why they get more hurt on a full moon. Maybe they're taking more risks.

This article does point out your findings though, that humans are not really affected by it, despite some findings that say otherwise.

Definitely something to think about. Maybe it's because we have a mind of our own and don't run by instincts like animals do.

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