Non-NGSS Articles, Space Systems, SS 1: Earth-Sun-Moon (MS)

Do Full Moons Cause Behavioral Changes?

Exploring the Potential Psychiatric Implications of Astronomical Phenomena

SUMMARY: This study looked at the effect of the full moon and other astronomical phenomena on behavior. Researchers recorded the number of incidences (restraints, seclusions, and code green emergencies) that occurred in a psychiatric hospital in Buffalo, NY for 5 years. The results showed no correlation between changes in behavior and the full moon. There was a partial eclipse that occurred once during the 5 years, and on this day, there was actually a lower-than-usual number of incidences. Data was collected 14 days before a full moon, on a full moon, and 14 days after a full moon. Other studies were cited at the end of this paper; they also concluded that there was no correlation between moon phases and abnormal behavior.

LESSON COMMENTS: This is a great article to teach the scientific method. It will work well for younger students or those who don’t have a strong science background. There is a lot of superstition around full moons, eclipses, and other astronomical phenomena. This study debunks it with objective data and statistics. The graphs (Figure 1 and 2) are not well labeled and is a good example of “what not to do”. Teachers can have students come up with their own experiments, using the scientific method to debunk popular myths such as astrological signs and personality, numerology, and birth charts.

Demler, T. L., Lysogorski, M. C., & Trigoboff, E. (2019). Exploring the Potential Psychiatric Implications of Astronomical Phenomena. Innovations in clinical neuroscience, 16(1-2), 27–30.

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