Hold on to your bound notebooks, because you may be about to lose a bet … to a plant. That’s right. Science has recently proven not only that plants can make smart decisions and take action when it come to their survival, but they might even make better gambling choices than people do. You might even say that this recent experiment and its conclusions go with comparative human behavior analysis like two peas in a pod.
Risk and Gambling
Have you ever sat next to someone at a casino and wondered why they continued to make the choices they did? Sometimes they risk everything when the potential for loss clearly outweighs the potential for gain. In such cases, you might consider that there is either a gambling addiction or something more to lose that you can’t see. For instance, someone who wins $500 when they were just enjoying the game might walk away with that win. However, someone who has a $700 car repair bill waiting for them might stay just a little longer and take the risk.
Plants and Loss
One of the biggest differences between plants and humans is that plant behavior would indicate that they care about survival more than anything, while humans tend to care more about the details of the quality of life they live. Hence, humans might gamble when plants wouldn’t, but plants do gamble for survival.
Peas in a Pot
Recently, a candidate for a Master degree, Efrat Dener, conducted an experiment to see how peas would respond. Plants are known for making movements toward sunlight, but there is not a lot of evidence to demonstrate higher thinking skills. This experiment may have changed all that, as plants demonstrated that they were willing to play the long odds rather than risk death.
Pea roots of the same plants were placed in different pots. On one side, there were pots that had a consistent flow of nutrients that the plants needed, though the flows varied in quantity. On the other side, the pots were subject to random doses of nutrients with no visible consistency. When it came to plants that had high level of nutrients in the consistent pots, the plants made the choice and took action to put most of the roots in the pots with a consistent flow of nutrients.
Another set of plants was offered the option of a consistent flow of nutrients on one side. The only problem was that even though the levels were consistent, they were consistently low—too low for the plant to thrive. On the other side, the pots experienced random amounts of nutrients ranging from high to low. In those cases, the plants chose to take a chance with the pots that had random levels.
This experiment is one for the bound notebooks not only because it demonstrated that plants take direct action on choices that they can and do make, but that those choices indicate an intelligent response to stimuli, a response that on some level is able to calculate the risk put before it. To learn more about advances in science and how they might best be recorded, continue to follow our blog at the Scientific Notebook Company.