Although it has been long since the humans reached the moon, the mystery around the moon's influence on human behaviour still fascinates many.
The word 'lunacy' comes from the Latin name for the moon and its goddess, Luna. Many medical professionals believe that more patients get admitted to the hospitals during the full moon nights, especially those in connection with some psychotic events.
They also say that on full moon nights more people come to the hospitals with strange injuries and more women go into labour under unusual circumstances. However, while we know that full moon nights don't turn humans into werewolves, many believe moon's different phases influence the level of humans' crimes.
My wife works at a psych hospital and admissions are always up when there is a full moon. No joke— Christopher Haberman (@c_haberman) January 3, 2018
Recently, an associate professor of criminology in Australia's Bond University, Professor Wayne Petherick takes a deeper look into the claims and explains that the only connection between full moon nights and increased crime rates is the light.
He wrote in The Conversation that one of the most important studies on this matter is a 1985 meta-analysis and it concluded that it's inappropriate to think or believe that humans behave any more or less bizarrely on the full moon nights.
Essentially, over the years, the researchers have not found any connection between increasing crime numbers and the moon's different phases whatsoever. According to Petherick, A 2009 study had examined over 23,000 cases of aggravated assaults of Germany, which took place between 1999 and 2005. The study found no connection to link the incidents with any lunar phase.
Another 2016 study concluded that there is no relation between the lunar phases and the indoor crimes; however, this one did find that the intensity of moonlight has a positive effect on the outdoor criminal activity.
As the amount of moonlight increased, they noticed a rise in criminal activity. One explanation for this could be the fact that criminals prefer enough light to find their victims but not so much that would increase their chances to get caught. This is called 'illumination hypothesis.'
The reason behind it can also be that more people come out of their homes during the full moon nights, which provides more victims to the criminals.
But then why do some people still cling to the ancient belief that full moon nights change human behaviour?
Well, because some people believe this notion to be true, they look closely and pay more attention to strange behaviours during the lunar events, such as a full moon or supermoon. In cognitive psychology, this is called 'confirmation bias.'
However, even after all these, one other question remains - why the behavioural changes must be innately negative? Why the acts of kindness or selflessness do not change during the different lunar events?
To this, professor Wayne Petherick answered, "It is likely that we just assume the folklore is true, and believe that we become the werewolf and not the sheep."