Community Post

Full moon, solstice, and total eclipse

There’s a theory that there are more crimes committed, more accidents, more mental problems, etc., on the nights when there is a full moon.  One might logically assume that when the full moon coincides with the solstice and with a total eclipse of the moon, the incidence of unfortunate happenings would skyrocket (pun intended).

In noting the dispatch calls for fire, aid, and police, and the various local media news reports for the past 24 hours, I do not see an obvious increase in the number of responses.

Has anyone else thought about this or looked at any statistics?  Maybe the whole theory is just a myth, but my personal experience in the past has backed up the “it must be the full moon” argument.  I usually notice that cars are driving even crazier than usual, there are even more jaywalkers than usual, etc.

There has not been a such a confluence of lunar events for several centuries until last night, so I guess there’s no history to either support or refute such a theory.

Just wondering.

0 thoughts on “Full moon, solstice, and total eclipse

  1. This results from an interesting phenomenon called apophenia, or the tendency to see patterns where they don’t exist.

    It results from the tendency of humans (i.e. all people, in general) to notice events that occur together, and to infer a pattern from those occurrences. The problem is that we don’t pay anywhere near as much attention to how often the events occur in general (base rate) nor at how often they occur separately (i.e. when one event occurs but the other does not).

    In other words, we notice when there’s crime during a full moon, but in order to know whether that’s a real effect, we should also pay attention to when crime does NOT occur during a full moon, and when crime does occur during a non-full moon.

    Humans have a tendency to attend to only one of four possibilities (crime + moon) and ignore the other three (no crime + moon; crime + no moon; no moon + no crime), and thus infer associations where none exist.

    Specific to the moon:

    Hope this helps! It’s really cool to think about how our regular way of experiencing the world might not match up with reality.
    Dr. Ink