Full Moon Effect On Behavior Minimal, Studies Say

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"Of the studies I have read, I find that there is very little evidence that the full moon has a direct effect on human or animal behavior," he said.

Selective Memory

Regardless of what the studies say, the power of the moon is often used to explain a wide range of events, from human insanity, violent crimes, and traffic accidents to putting people in a celebratory and romantic mood.

Why? "One reason is that people have selective memories," said Chudler. "When something unusual happens and there is a full moon, people might notice the moon and assign blame."

Another mistake, according to Chudler, is failing to make the distinction between correlation and causation. He notes that just because a study finds a relationship between a full moon and certain behavior, it does not mean the moon caused this behavior.

"These are correlational studies," he said.

Kelly suggested that people who conduct studies on the relationship between the full moon and human behavior often do not collect data throughout the entire month to see if the behavior is more elevated at full-moon time compared to the rest of the month.

Another problem, suggests Kelly, lies in media coverage.

"Journalists pay too much attention to finding sensational news or news that will support interesting results," he said. "Hence [they] ignore the findings of studies and tend to prefer stories or anecdotes from policemen or nurses."

Or studies purportedly backed by a tequila manufacturer.

According to a report in the British newspaper The Daily Telegraph Mexican tequila distiller Jose Cuervo sponsored a psychiatrist at Kings College in London to study the association between the full moon and strange behavior as portrayed in literature.

The psychiatrist, Glenn Wilson, found that the full moon has been portrayed in folklore and legends for centuries as cause for celebration, particularly in the times before modern lighting.

"There is good reason to believe that people's personalities do change around the time of the full moon, not because of any astronomical force, but because it creates the optimum lighting conditions for feeling carefree and mischievous," Wilson told the paper.

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