The mind of plants: Thinking the unthinkable

Monica Gagliano

    Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review


    Across all species, individuals thrive in complex ecological systems, which they rarely have complete knowledge of. To cope with this uncertainty and still make good choices while avoiding costly errors, organisms have developed the ability to exploit key features associated with their environment. That through experience, humans and other animals are quick at learning to associate specific cues with particular places, events and circumstances has long been known; the idea that plants are also capable of learning by association had never been proven until now. Here I comment on the recent paper that experimentally demonstrated associative learning in plants, thus qualifying them as proper subjects of cognitive research. Additionally, I make the point that the current fundamental premise in cognitive science—that we must understanding the precise neural underpinning of a given cognitive feature in order to understand the evolution of cognition and behavior—needs to be reimagined.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)e1288333
    JournalCommunicative & Integrative Biology
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2017


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