Criminal Activity as it Relates to the Lunar Cycle

This topic submitted by Adam Todd, Beth Price, Veronica Arnold (toddab@miamioh.edu, priceea@miamioh.edu, vja_2000@hotmail.com) at 3:53 pm on 9/28/00. Additions were last made on Wednesday, May 7, 2014. Section: Myers


Introduction/Relevance

The purpose of this lab is to determine whether the lunar cycle affects criminal activities among humans. Traditionally, people have believed that the lunar cycle affects human behavior; more specifically, it has been thought that the full moon can cause uncommon behavior among people. This odd behavior may often be criminal in nature. Through this lab, we hope to determine whether there is a correlation between the lunar cycle and criminal behavior. We hypothesize that criminal behavior increases during the full moon.
We decided to study criminal behavior as it relates to the lunar cycle because it is an aspect of our being that we do not completely understand. It is a fascinating idea that something approximately 384,300 kilometers away can have control over our actions. While our research may not result in a complete understanding of the ways in which the moon affects our everyday lives, it will hopefully bring us one step closer to this realization.
Other people have already attempted to tackle this question and have arrived at varied conclusions. For example, studies by Stephen Armstrong and David Bamber support the idea that the lunar cycle affects human behavior. On the other hand, a study by Roger Dobson stated that the lunar cycle has no affect on human behavior. Although we will draw upon research done by others, we intend to conduct our own research and come to our own conclusions.

Materials/Methods

We have currently collected Oxford Police Department crime reports from 1995-1999 and we will analyze these reports to determine if the number of crimes increases or decreases during certain points in the lunar cycle (new moon, 1st quarter, full moon, and last quarter). We also plan to try to obtain police reports from other cities of different sizes and geographic locations. We intend to put all the data we collect into a histogram so we can easily analyze it. In order to determine whether the differences between the numbers of crimes committed during different times in the lunar cycle are due to chance alone, we will conduct a p-test on the data. We will also research major crimes throughout history to see if there is a relationship between the dates the crimes were committed and points on the lunar cycle.

Results/Conclusion

Although it is too early in our research to determine any concrete conclusions, our preliminary research from the Oxford Police Department reports (at least those for 1996) has revealed that the number of crimes committed may indeed increase during the new moon. Our results may change as we further examine our data.

Literature Cited

Alward, Ruth R. The nurse’s shift work handbook. Washington, D.C.: American
Nurses Pub., 1993.

Armstrong, Stephen. “The moon has put me in a mad sort of mood”. The Daily
Telegraph. p25. May 17, 2000.

Bamber, David. “Violent moods rise with the new moon”. Sunday Telegraph. p19. November 29, 1998.

Chudler. “Moonstruck! Does The Full Moon Influence Behavior?” Webpage. Available On-Line at WWW: http://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/moon.html

Dobson, Roger. “Lunacy not linked to dark side of the moon”. The Independent. p3. April 14, 1997.

Forbes, GB, and GR Lebo, Jr. “Antisocial behavior and lunar activity: a failure to validate the lunacy myth”. Psychology Rep. Pp40-43. June 1997.

Lieber, Arnold L. The lunar effect : biological tides and human emotions. Garden City: Anchor Press, 1978.

McWilliams, Brendan. “Lunar link with lunacy”. The Irish Times. p2. July 20, 1992.

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