Madness and the moon: The lunar cycle and psychopathology

Mark Owens, Iain W. McGowan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Historically, then has been a perceived association between the moon and human biology and behaviour that can be traced back to at least Roman times. The idea that the moon can in some way influence human biology or behaviour is a phenomena that has now come to known as the "Transylvanian effect" in the academic literature. Many mental health professionals continue to hold the belief that lunar cyles can alter human behaviour despite contradictory evidence, but may also be due to personal, ethical, aesthetic, and intuitive ways of knowing. However, studies that have reported positive findings have been shown to be methodologically flawed, inconclusive, or confounded witb other variables. Contrary to this belief in a Transylvanian effect are more recent studies refuting any association, relationship, or correlation between lunar cycles and human biology or behaviour. The vast majority of research relating to this phenomenon has been carried out retrospectively utilising secondary data.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123-127
Number of pages5
JournalGerman Journal of Psychiatry
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jul 2006


  • Aggression
  • Lunar cycles
  • Transylvanian effect
  • Violence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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