Your are going to read an article about the possible effects of the moon. For each question, choose the answer which you think fits best according to the text.

Recent research into human and animal behaviour has thrown up some curious findings. In the process, it has confused those who considered the effects of moonlight to be the stuff of trashy horror movies. Termed ‘the lunar effect’, it had been used as an explanation for crazy cats, howling wolves, and a rise in accidents. The most recent research identifies the role the moon plays in disrupting the earth’s electromagnetic field. Some animals are sensitive to these changes. In addition, nights on which there is a full moon are lighter, which can affect animals; internal 24-hour clocks.

For years, people noticed that owls, for example, were particularly noisy when there was a full moon. Scientists in southern Spain found a possible reason for this among their population of eagle owls. When they put on a vocal display, white throat feathers became visible, and the owls used these to communicate with each other. So on a bright, moonlit night, the owls hooted more, showed their feathers more, communicated more.

The light nights have an effect on wolves’ habits too. When the moon is bright, their prey, such as rabbits and foxes, hide themselves away as the light of the moon makes it easier for the wolves to spot them. The researchers think that the wolves know that their prey will be harder to find on those nights, and consequently they don’t go out hunting as much, but they do tend to howl more.

Other findings show that humans tend to get bitten by animals more around the full moon. But is this really a change in animal behaviour? Or is it that humans go out more, and find themselves in situations where they encounter animals on these light nights? If the animal is trying to defend itself, then it may bite.

Finally, what about the strange effect of a full moon on the stock market—a whole different kind of animal? On days leading up to and just after a full moon, there’s a tendency for stock markets to fall anything up to five per cent. There’s no clear, rational explanation for this, but there are theories that lighter nights mean people don’t sleep as well as usual. This can lead to impaired judgement and make them feel pessimistic. The stock markets are great indicators of confidence, so if you’re not feeling great, then the prices will reflect that.

So, the lunar effect does exist, although the changes in behaviour it causes are far less extreme than those shown in the movies. To be on the safe side, just make sure you’re tucked up in bed, fast asleep on bright, moonlit nights.


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