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The other day, I found the following claim that solar flares cause a great increase in human agressiveness:

Chizhevsky found after intense research that the rise and fall of solar activity—interacting with the earth's magnetic field—causes mass changes in human's perspective's, moods, emotions and behavioral patterns. All are affected by sunspots and solar flares.

Really?

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    The Dr. Robert Becker referenced in your article as a "leading expert in the field of biological electricity" was also heavily involved in the popularization of colloidal silver as a healant. – user951 Apr 2 '11 at 16:50
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    of course they affect human behavior -- for example, if there weren't any solar storms, you'd have never asked this question :) – Carson Myers Apr 2 '11 at 18:08
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    As a ham radio operator, I can tell you that a good solar storm can energize auroras and bring them down from the polar latitudes towards the mid latitudes. This leads to more humans looking at the aurora, and more attempted long distance radio contacts on 50Mhz and 144Mhz through the effects of the aurora. – Paul Apr 3 '11 at 1:05
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I found some information on Chizhevsky's work at a Cycles Research Institute site, and downloaded his Physical Factors of the Historical Process. I wasn't impressed.

He picked out historical events and attempted to match them with sunspot cycles. The means by which he picked them out isn't obvious, and the assignment of exact dates is frequently arbitrary. Since this is matched against time periods of a few years each (the usual 11-year cycle is divided into four sections), there are certainly possibilities of cherry-picking here, and no information on how that was guarded against, and if it was. There is a list of cholera epidemics, and no mention of other diseases. The cycles for most of his period of study are measured nine to a century, with only moderate attempts to account for the actual cycles.

The attempt to break WWI down by sunspot cycles seems forced. Having read several books about it, I wouldn't have guessed 1915 as the period of greatest violence, although he claims that as a peak of violence. There was a lot of fighting against Russia that year, although less than in 1916's Brusilov offensive, and not a whole lot in France and Belgium, particularly compared to 1916's Verdun and Somme battles. He attributes the 1917 Russian Revolution to another outburst of sunspots, but overall the fighting had abated some since 1916, with the Russian and French armies seriously demoralized and incapable of large offensives.

The article that you linked was sensationalistic, and tied the maxima of 1990 to the Kuwait wars and 2001 to one (admittedly large) act of terrorism and two invasions (one in 2003), ignoring other cycle points. Counting back from 1990 by elevens, we get 1979, which was fairly quiet, 1968, when the Vietnam War was about to wind down but still raging (like the Tet Offensive), 1957, a fairly quiet year over most of the globe, and 1946, when very little of military consequence happened, as the world tried to recover from WWII.

It seems to me that any major disturbances should show up more clearly in crime rates, but I saw nothing about crime rates in a quick look at the CRI site, and I've never heard of an eleven-year cycle there.

In short, I have failed to see appropriate evidence for the claim.

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Yes. Yes they do.

You may like to first look at the Bioelectromagnetics journal for an understanding of how it is possible.

The sun, and solar flares, modulate evolution and life for the solar system. Solar flares, and geomagnetic storms affect human health via biogenic magnetite, bone, and photoreceptors in the eyes.

Here are a few abstracts for consideration:

A controversial body of literature demonstrates associations of geomagnetic storms (GMS) with numerous cardiovascular, psychiatric and behavioural outcomes.

And this one may be found in Med. Hypothesis:

We conclude that intermittent and largely unpredictable peak solar cycle radiation has been the fundamental engine of evolution, forcing organisms to adapt to mutagenic UVR and producing enough damage to instigate genetic variation. Probably a chance genetic mutation over 80,000 years ago produced a human brain capable of abstract thought and consciousness. The slight genetic instability that favored an adaptable, creative brain also produced other somatic variations that present phenotypically as disease, but largely expressed after natural selection (reproduction) and associated with the inexorable entropy of aging.

There is also this:

The hypothesis that geomagnetic storms may partly account for the seasonal variation in the incidence of depression, by acting as a precipitant of depressive illness in susceptible individuals, is supported by a statistically significant 36.2% increase in male hospital admissions with a diagnosis of depressed phase, manic-depressive illness in the second week following such storms compared with geomagnetically quiet control periods. There is a smaller but not statistically significant increase in female psychotic depression and non-psychotic depression admissions following storms. There was no correlation between geomagnetic storm levels and number of male admissions with psychotic depression, which is consistent with a threshold event affecting predisposed individuals. Phase advance in pineal circadian rhythms of melatonin synthesis may be a possible mechanism of causation or be present as a consequence of 5-hydroxytryptamine and adrenergic system dysfunction associated with geomagnetic disturbance. Effects on cell membrane permeability, calcium channel activity and retinal magneto-receptors are suggested as possible underlying biochemical mechanisms.

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    As we have seen here before, Med. Hypothesis is a great place to extemporise on some novel hypotheses, looking for better scientific models, but it is not, by design, a place to find actual answers to scientific questions supported by evidence. Arguments that rely on Med Hypothesis can be perceived as weaker rather than stronger. – Oddthinking Feb 20 '14 at 1:33

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