Human Behavior with Relation to the Lunar Cycle
Kate Maus, Danielle Haynay, Lauren Adams, Megan Strobel, and Lauren Skirbunt
Our investigation was on the study of human behavior with relation to the lunar cycle. In our study, we recorded the moon position and phase along with certain people's behavior for each given day. Comparing the two pieces of data, we looked to see if there was a pattern. We compared the data we gathered with other resources. In addition to this, we determined if there were any behavioral differences between the sexes. We also looked to see if there were any patterns with other factors such as: crime, birth rates, menstrual cycle, alcohol consumption, homework load, and amount of sleep. Each person in the group observed three specific males and three specific females by administering a survey. Later on in the duration of our lab, we decided to cut out the section on crime and birth rates due to the overload of data.
The purpose of our student-generated lab was to determine if there was a relationship between the phases of the moon and human behavior, taking into account the differences between male and female.
We decided on this project because we had an interest on the moon and a peer made a comment in class that led us to further peruse this idea. We came about our specific questions for the survey doing research to find the typical moods of people with relation to the lunar cycle. From this research, we decided on the most prominent personality traits and produced a survey for individuals to take.
In researching the effects of the lunar cycle in relation to human behavior, the information digested has led us to an assumption of some possible out comes. Our prediction is quite simple. When the moon is full, people, both male and female, will experience a slight change in their mood and behavior. They will suffer more from stress and become more emotionally unstable. Persons will be more sensitive to details and the slightest change could affect their emotional stableness. Work overload will cause an influx of intense stress. Persons will want alone time to deal with their own frustrations. They will lack the attention span to deal with others and will have a lack of assertiveness.
When a new moon occurs, people, male and female, will experience a sense of calmness. Their emotions will stabilize and their willingness to accept difficulties will reach its peak. The persons will be more energetic and open-minded. Optimism will also result from this moon phase. They will become more susceptible to change. Along with this sense of emotional tranquility, the individuals will get more work done. The quantity of work, no matter the amount, will not effect their emotions as significantly, as compared to when the moon is full. In addition to looking at different moods in relation to the phase of the moon, we will also be looking for variations between the genders.
Women and men have obvious differences. Stereotypically, women display their emotions more frequently than men do. Our prediction is that the moon will have a greater affect on the change in behavior of women than men. The men will not show this change in behavior as strongly as women will. We are also taking into consideration women's moods in relation to the menstrual cycle; we realize that this time could alter our results. In our survey (see below) we will ask this question and see if it affects our outcome.
While researching articles found in relation to our study, we have come to the assumption that when there is a full moon, crime rates will experience a sudden increase in activity. When there is a new moon crime rates will experience a sudden decrease in activity. There will be an increase in birth rates during a full moon and a decrease in birth rates during a new moon. Other research done on this test concluded that "Scientific analysis of data does not support the belief that the number of births increases as the full moon approaches, therefore it is a myth not reality" (Joshi). We hope to ether agree or prove wrong.
One might associate the idea of this lab to be based on a myth. Our goal is to bring mythology to reality. Our thoughts behind this are that most people associate a full moon with moodiness and a new moon with tranquility. Our job as discovers, will be to prove this theory right or wrong. We hope our research will not only inform us, but also open our minds to the truths of the patterns of human behavior.
Relevance to our research question
In reviewing others work, we were able to narrow the topic down so we could focus on birth rates and crime rates. We also discovered flaws in other research labs. We have taken note of these flaws so that we will not reproduce them in our lab. One group focused on menstruation as compared to the lunar cycle. This group charted the cycles of women living in the Western residence halls to see if the moon had an effect on their cycles. They then compared their data to a moon calendar and hypothesized that the new and full moon phases had more of an impact on their cycle than the quarter phases. They thought that when there was a full moon, females were more likely to menstruate.
Other research was conducted on studies of food and alcohol intake with relation to the lunar cycle and delivery rates with a similar comparison. These studies have introduced us to the option of testing different areas and seeing if there is a similar outcome. "The results of these studies showed when there was a full moon food intake increased slightly and alcohol intake decreased slightly. A small but significant lunar rhythm of nutrient intake was observed with an 8% increase in meal size and a 26% decrease in alcohol intake at the time of the full moon relative to the new moon" (de Castro, Pearcey). These studies have introduced us to the option of testing different areas and seeing if there is a similar outcome. There was no change in delivery rates in comparison to the lunar cycle.
If we find our hypothesis to be true, then we will be able to relate our experiment to the real world. We are constantly confronted with different behaviors, so therefore we can use our data to develop a strong idea of whether or not the moon can become an influence on the human race. If there is an increase in crime rates during a full moon, proper precautions could be taken for protection. If there is an increase in delivery rates during a full moon, hospitals can be prepared for the influx of births by staffing more doctors and nurses
What we are going to do when we teach the Seminar class is the following:
q Ask about prior knowledge toward folklore concerning the moon and its cycles
q Explain how we did our project and how we are seeing the way questions in our survey are being tied to the moon cycle.
q Pass out our survey to students, students will then take the survey, after the students finish taking their survey, we will have produced a chart on the black board in order to show the class results. The class will participate in the tabulation of the survey results buy raising their hands in correlation with the number with what they chose.
q We will then ask the students if they see any patterns with the results. After this, we will show them our results that we have obtained thus far. This will set the tone for the group discussion where the students will give us their feedback or thoughts toward this subject.
q We will also ask them if they think Stat View will assist us in the best possible way in drawing a conclusion. We will also ask if they have any other suggestions as to how this information can be useful.
The following pages include the overheads that we used when we taught the class.
In reviewing others work, we were able to narrow down the plethora of information and focus on certain behavioral patterns. While doing this, we discovered flaws in other research labs. We have taken note of these flaws so that we will not reproduce them in our lab. One group focused on menstruation as compared to the lunar cycle. This group charted the cycles of women living in the Western residence halls to see if the moon had an effect on their cycles. They then compared their data to a moon calendar and hypothesized that the new and full moon phases had more of an impact on their cycle than the quarter phases. They thought that when there was a full moon, females were more likely to menstruate. We are going to try to prove this theory true or false based on the information that w have gathered.
Other research was conducted on studies of food and alcohol intake with relation to the lunar cycle and delivery rates with a similar comparison. These studies have introduced us to the option of testing different areas and seeing if there is a similar outcome. The results of these studies showed when there was a full moon food intake increased slightly and alcohol intake decreased slightly. There was no change in delivery rates in comparison to the lunar cycle. We have included questions on our survey that ask about alcohol intake and we will be looking for a relation between this and the lunar cycle.
Materials and Methods
Our methods include a survey, which we administered to selected males and females, including some teachers, who are part of the Western community. Each of these persons was consistently asked throughout our experiment. The survey was conducted two days before and after the full moon and new moon. We only observed around the new and full moon cycles, and did not focus on the quarter and half moon cycles, because the most prominent human characteristics stand out during the full and new moons. A calendar of the lunar cycles guides us as to when the surveys will be issued and the information gathered.
The survey consisted of questions ranging from mood to what is going on in personal surroundings. The people surveyed answered on a scale from one to five, one being not at all, and five being extremely. We ensured unbiased results because we asked a random selection of people who had no prior knowledge of what we were looking for, with relation to the cycles of the moon. The survey contained these questions:
· Today did you feel energetic?
· Today did you feel lethargic?
· Today did you feel temperamental?
· Today were you more easily agitated than usual?
· Today did you feel angry?
· Today did you feel violent?
· Today did you feel optimistic?
· Today did you feel pessimistic?
· Today were you indifferent to things that happened around you?
· Today were you social?
· Today were you anti-social?
· Today did you feel more sexually inclined than usual?
· Today were you more assertive than usual?
· Today did you feel caring?
· How much sleep did you get last night?
· Did you have a lot of homework?
· How much alcohol did you consume last night? Today?
· Are you menstruating?
· Are you sick?
Our data sheet is a hard copy of the survey we administered to the select community so that we could form an overall conclusion. We also had an accurate calendar stating the precise phases of the moon. Our goal was to have a consensus of the surveys and statistics. Throughout the design of our lab, we sought the advice from the most intelligent professor at Miami University, Dr. Hays Cummins. He was most helpful with guiding us in the directions. Thank you very much Hays!
Before we handed out the first set of surveys, we made detailed predictions as to which survey question corresponded to which specific cycle, new moon, or full moon. The predictions are on the next page. Our time-line of research began on October 7 and went through October 11, with the start of a new moon. A survey was handed out to fourteen female and male students along with a male and female teacher. These students included a variety of Western and Architecture/Interior Design students who had various mood levels. Then on October 22 through October 26, another survey was handed out in accordance to the full moon phase. After the surveys were collected and tabulated, we reviewed the information collected (and we also had quite a large headache NOT based on the lunar phase). Then, on November 5 through November 9, the same survey was administered to the select 30 individuals. Again, on November 20 through November 24, the last set of surveys was handed out. After this, information was reviewed and compacted to observe any similarities within the two sets of cycles. We did this by creating a chart for each day of the week around the cycle. One to five (the ratings) will be located on the X-axis while the number 1-15 (the question) will be on the Y-axis. The last five short answer questions on the survey will be put in a table showing the results. We will take this information and compare it to the information in other peoples research groups to prove them right or wrong. Next, we set up a table in stat view with these totals to come up with the p-values so we could make the proper comparisons. After the comparisons were made, we created a series of tables and charts to show this data in presentation form.
The tables on the following pages show the results from the three sets of data collected.
When analyzing our data in stat view, we compared the moon cycles to each other and males verses females by using the Spearmen Rank test. This test, like the t-test, provided us with a p-value. This p-value determined whether the null hypothesis could be accepted or rejected. The null hypothesis stated the there was no dependence between the two sets of data. If the p-value was greater than .05, the result was independent, and you would accept the null hypothesis, where as, if the p-value was less than .05 the result was dependent and you would reject the null hypothesis.
By looking at the graphs comparing all the people surveyed within each of the lunar cycles we came up with many conclusions. We broke down the results for each cycle and then compared them to each other as a whole. Our overall conclusions are as follows: in general people are more affected by the new moon rather than the full moon, however due to the fact that we only tested one full moon cycle, this conclusion is still questionable. People are most likely to change their behavior between the shift from the new moon to the full moon rather than the full moon to the new moon.
To break this information down in even further detail, we compared the percentages of change that occurred from the first new moon to the second new moon, the first new moon to the full moon, and the second new moon to the full moon. When comparing the first new moon to the second new moon, 74% of the surveyed people were independent (not affected) from the change between the two cycles, while 26% of the people were dependent on the shift. When comparing the first new moon to the full moon, 73% of the people tested were independent from the moon, meaning their behaviors are not dependent on the moon cycles. Meanwhile 40% of the people tested were dependent (affected) on the changing of the moon cycle. Finally, when comparing the full moon to the second new moon, 93% of the selected people were not affected (independent) by the shift in phase, while 7% were affected.
The most interesting part of the results was the comparisons between male and female reactions. When comparing the first new moon to the second new moon, 87% were independent, while 13% were dependent. When comparing the first new moon to the full moon, 80% of the men were independent, while 20% of the men were dependent. When comparing the second new moon to the full moon, again, 80% were independent and 20% were dependent.
On the other hand, for females, when comparing new moon to the second new moon, 80% were not affected by the shift in moon phase, while 20% were. As for the full moon to new moon, 94% were independent and 6% were dependent. For the full moon to the second new moon, these numbers are the same. Combining all this information on a graph we were able to conclude, males are generally more dependent on the full moon while females were more dependent on the new moon.
The charts and tables on the following pages show this data collection.
Sources of Error
There are many different possible sources of error associated with this lab. Ranging from human error to lack of interest by the participants, it is obvious to see where things could have gone wrong. The fact that all the surveys were passed out over a weekend could have altered the results, especially since we focused our surveys on a select group of college students and two professors. College students obviously have other things on their minds than taking the needed amount of time to think about the questions and answer them accurately. In addition, the fact that we handed the surveys out to the same individuals to each cycle caused our data to suffer as the lab went on. If we had varied the people we surveyed, the results would have been more accurate.
The five questions at the bottom of the survey proved that error could have existed by the given results. The results were so broad and un-specified that error in tabulating the data could create problems within our lab. More alcohol intake and less sleep over the weekends and the varied amount of homework could change how the individual would respond to the fifteen rated questions. The individuals' moods and health could have also change the results. If the persons taking the survey were having a terrible day, their answers to the rated questions would reflect that, throwing off the results.
Towards the end, an increased amount of work and therefore lack of interest in the surveys produced mixed results. Individuals often forgot to take the surveys on the given days and tried to make up for it by circling all threes, which means nothing with the rating scale. The fact that the surveys were not always filled out at the correct time, changed the results that we were looking for. If the individual remembered two days later to fill out the surveys, their answers could be affected by how there was acting at the time they finally did do the work as opposed to the time that they were supposed to do the survey.
The results of our lab have enabled us to disprove our hypothesis. Our original hypothesis stated that individuals would have distinctive differences in mood when there was a new moon compared to when there was a full moon. We thought that when there was a full moon, individuals would suffer from stress, and become emotionally unstable. When there was a new moon, we believed that emotions would stabilize and people would become more tranquil. Our results showed that the moods of the total individuals changed but not in accordance to our hypothesis.
The next part of our hypothesis stated that when comparing men and women, we expected that women would be more emotionally affected by the moon cycle. Our results put this into a better context. The results did show that there was a difference between the behavior change in men and women, but men were equally affected by the phases, just effected by a different cycle. Mens' behavioral patterns and emotional change were dependent on the full moon cycle, while women were not. Females, on the other hand, were dependent on the new moon cycle, while men were not.
With all the hard work and countless hours working on this lab, switching between the IBM and the MAC we actually found some useful data. When the light bulb came on that Saturday morning, it was all worth it.
Visit these web sites:
De Castro and Pearcey, Lunar Rhythms of the Meal and Alcohol Intake of Humans, Physiology & Behavior,
Vol. 57, No 3 pp. 439-444
Raison, Klein, Steckler, The moon and madness reconsidered, Journal of Affective Disorders, Vol: 53,
Issue 1, pp. 96-106, April 1, 1999
Ghiandoni, Does lunar position influence the time of delivery? A statistical analysis, European Journal of
Obstetrics and Gynecology and Reproductive Biology, Vol: 77, issue 1 pp. 47-50, March 1, 1998
Joshi, Labor ward workload waxes, and wanes with the lunar cycle, myth, or reality? , Primary Care
Update for OB/GYNS, Vol: 5, Issue: 4, pp. 184, July 8, 1998
Myers, Gravitational Effects of the period of high tides and the new moon on lunacy, The Journal of
Emergency Medicine, Vol 13, No 4, pp 529-532, 1995
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