Allgemeine und Biologische Psychologie

Plants

plants

Basal Cognition, or Minimal Cognition, is a controversial field of research, exploring cognition or cognition-like phenomena in species without a nervous system. Although it may seem unlikely at first, a variety of findings among myxomyceta, amoebae and even bacteria suggest an abundance of memory, perception and flexibility in behavior in even the smallest forms of life.

In the last few decades, as part of the search for Basal Cognition, a renewed interest in the behavior of plants emerged. New scientific revealed previously unknown structures and systems in plants capable of transmitting information through the whole plant, while a few behavioral experiments showed a previously unthought of capability for flexible behavior, habituation and even learning by association.

Plants and animals split very early in evolution, but nonetheless both had hundreds of millions of years of evolution, each going their own path. If plants have developed a kind of intelligence, it is likely much different from that of animals, both in it’s capabilities and underlying mechanisms. This provides us with an interesting possibility to find the similarities and differences between these types of cognition.

We explore the capabilities of perception, memory and learning in plants by novel experimental designs, which aim to provide signals and modalities a plant might perceive and react to. Our first experiments will mainly focus on learning by association in various paradigms.

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