In 1998, a three-month psychological study of 1,200 inmates at Armley jail in Leeds discovered a rise in violent incidents during the days either side of a full moon.And insurance companies have also done studies that suggest there's a correlation between accidents and the full moon. Back in 2003, Bloomberg reported:
Car accidents occur 14 percent more often on average during a full moon than a new moon, according to a study of 3 million car policies by the U.K.'s Churchill Insurance Group Plc.But psychologist Ivan Kelly, a researcher at the University of Saskatchewan in Canada, says the whole idea is bunk. He's reviewed nearly 50 scientific studies of the relationship between a full moon and changes in human behavior, and has found nothing but shoddy research as well as a tendency to confuse correlation and causation. He told National Geographic:
The studies are not consistent. For every positive study, there is a negative study. Journalists pay too much attention to finding sensational news or news that will support interesting results. Hence [they] ignore the findings of studies and tend to prefer stories or anecdotes from policemen or nurses.Celeb psychiatrist Glenn Wilson suggested people's behavior might change at the full moon, but not due to any sort of "human tidal wave" shenanigans:
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.So if you're feeling a little mischievous tonight, it might be the full moon. Or it might just be the fact that you read some sensationalistic articles about how the full moon affects people's behavior. Moon image via NASA.