Moon and Human Behaviour

This work was a result of a book review I had been working on. Full review of the book will be made available in the future. The book that was being reviewed was Blood Bread and Roses: How Menstruation Created the World by Judy Grahn, Beacon Press, 1993. Around 2009 I first came across the book but did not read it at the time. However, when it grabbed my attention for the second time in the recent past, I was determined to read it. Through this reading with a review in mind, I got the urge to test one of the consistent themes of the book about the influence of moon on the human female and the human culture. The following investigation was based on the simple attempt to see the veracity of the above claim using a dataset available to me. The following is some details about the investigation. This work follows a different way to look into the relationship between moon and humans. Instead of using statistical testing as many scholars generally do, visual observation is given prominence in this investigation. Do the moon’s position and its phase synchronise with the driver behaviour in a visually perceptible way? If they are not, does any number crunching to find evidence in a deeper layer really matter? Perhaps, it is a question that I leave to the experts.

The study in focus here considered the data on road traffic accidents in order to see the influence of the moon on the driver behaviour by way of its position and illumination.  The analysis was based on the visual tools widely used for time series data in time and frequency domains. The present study could not detect any influence of the moon on the traffic accidents. This study does not see a reason for this result not being valid for the human behaviours underpinning similar data.

The overarching hypothesis the current authour worked with was that any link between moon phases or the distance to the moon and the daily traffic accidents should be visible in the periodicities of data. In the sample presented for November 2016 in the Figure 3, any synchronicity between these variables, if it exists, should be apparent.  But there was no significant periodicity of 29 days other than the strong weekly variability in the accident data series. The dominant feature of the accident data across all categories considered in this study was the above mentioned seven-day periodicity dictated by the working week. However, the patterns observed in this study are not universal, partly due to the differences in the nature of data used. For an example, Pape-Kohler et al (2014) reported that in their study using the data from Germany, they saw the highest number of severely injured road trauma cases admitted to hospital on Saturdays. Their explanation for the trauma cases were mainly based on the daily peak traffic periods. They also couldn’t see any influence of lunar phase on the number of trauma cases. What we may also have to remember in the studies of this nature is that it is not easy to unravel the cultural entanglement between our modern-day behaviours and conventional constraints on our daily lives. The working week universally ends after Friday and only begins again on Monday. Our week is 7 days and four weekly cycles give us a period that is very close to the lunar month and our standard month in the Gregorian Calendar. When future work habits blur the weekdays and weekends, there may be a different picture emerging that does not relate to the weekly cycle and hence, not tied to the lunar month. This may help to untangle any influence of the moon, if there exists one, extraneous to the habit-forming human behaviours.  

Reference

Pape-Kohler C. I. A, Simanski C, Nienaber U and Lefering R (2014) External factors and the incidence of severe trauma: Time, date, season and moon, Injury, Int. J. Care Injured, 45S (2014) S93–S99 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.injury.2014.08.027

Currently, the full paper can be accessed at Humanities Common as a paper yet to be approved.

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The website aims to show the possible origin of religion through a ‘uniquely’ human process which has links to the seclusion of girls at puberty. It also advocates the view that the Paleolithic Venus figurines are related to these puberty rites and hence, the prehistoric Venus figurines may carry a much larger meaning. Thus, Religion is something more than a throwback from our animal past.
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