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Monk Serotonin Study Fake?

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Monk Serotonin Study (Kasamatsu & Hirai, 1999) seems to by an extremely popular study on IB-related websites (including this one), however, my IB Psychology teacher believes this study actually does not exist.

I tried to find other mentions of this study apart from those IB sites with no success. Google Scholar was not helpful either. If the study was published in 1999 as suggested for example in the IB Revision Guide in the pinned post, that would be a little weird, since Tomio Hirai died in 1993, and Akira Kasamatsu was his teacher, so he was probably even older.

So it really seems like this study does not exist. What do you think? Have you actually read the study? If you know the study exists, can you help me with proving it?

Otherwise, I think you should be probably really careful with this and warn as many people as possible.

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Funny, our psychology teacher gave us that very study to analyse, although she didn't use the original paper of course.  It is possible, although probably quite unlikely, that the study was published posthumously.  However, I've just done some searching of my own on both google scholar and sciencedirect, and I cannot find a single mention of the specific monk study that you've mentioned.  The closest I've found published by both authors together was this study, but seeing that it was published in 1966 and is not related to serotonin nor sensory deprivation, it's obviously not the study you mention.  There is also a review of hallucinogens and serotonin published in 1999, but two problems - different author, and it's a review, not an observational study.  The relationship between serotonin and hallucinations is quite well documented, however, so the study actually seems pretty valid, which means it's actually quite well-done if it's been fabricated.  

Anyways, I may do some more digging around later if I have the time, but for now I'm forced to conclude that the study doesn't exist, so it's probably good to substitute this study for another one for anyone planning to use this.  Probably also good to mention that neither the Oxford study guide nor the Pearson textbook mentions this study, and usually it's pretty easy to find the original paper for the studies (e.g. Asch (1951), Loftus and Palmer (1974)).

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Agreed with @SC2Player, the study doesn't exist! I've searched everywhere on google as well as my university library, and nothing came up. Most results on google are from some IB websites or blogs which (I suspect) got their information from some secondary resources. I believe this was originally started from the mis-citation in the IB psychology course companion by Crane and Hannibal that was published a couple of years ago. The general rule of thumb is don't use any study which you can't find the original published paper (or at least the abstract of the paper).

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@SC2Player: Do you still have the materials your  teacher gave you? It could contain more detailed citation of the original article.

My next step is to try to find the article in Japanese with the help of a friend who learns Japanese. It could be that the article was never fully translated to English.

But the study seems to be discussed exclusively in the IB world. I think that is a very strong clue :(

 

Edit:

@Vioh Thank you, that makes sense. Let's hope people will read this and avoid mentioning it in their essays as I just did in my mocks :D

Edited by fireworker

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I believe that you are mistaken. I have gone through all Psychology past papers starting from 2011, and the IBO official mark scheme for May 2014 P1 TZ1 question 1 about the BLOA (specifically, 'Describe one study that demonstrates the effect that the environment can have on one physiological process) clearly states that the Kasamatsu and Hirai (1999) study on sensory deprivation and its effect on serotonin can be used as a study to support the question. This means that the IB clearly acknowledges this study and its validity (at least to answer this specific question in the BLOA). I personally believe that this study could even be used to answer other reoccurring BLOA questions, such as 'Explain how one hormone influences human behaviour' and 'Describe one principle that defines the biological level of analysis' (which would be that behaviour is the product of our nervous and endocrine systems). I believe you could also connect this study to neurotransmission and how it affects human behaviour. 

So, in conclusion, this is certainly a very useful and IB-credited study which should not be disregarded. :D

PS. What I do find odd about all of this is that there is no proof about it ANYWHERE online, except from the IBO. My teacher has told me that the IBO does not check if the study is real only IF they have heard about it before or they have no doubts about the method... if you're going to use this study, you better make sure you use appropriate language and seem intellectual enough, so that they, whoever marks your paper, does not go searchig for more – just a heads up! 8-)

Edited by bananananana

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