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Plants can feel?

  1. Sep 2, 2006 #1
    This is a segment on mythbusters. They did a polygraph test to see if a plant can feel and there results were suprsing but I'm not sure about this

    How can a plant feel? [/LIST]
    How can a polygraph detcet if a plant can feel[/LIST]
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 22, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 2, 2006 #2
    I dont think mythbusters are very rigorous in their work, and from the video we cant tell how they set up the lie detector. Very interesting stuff though.

    A lie detector cant check if plants are conscious, but perhaps it can check how fast one part of the plant responds to stimuli in another part of its body. Maybe the speed and type of this response can be compared to our central nervous system responses and some kind of conclusion about consciousness can be drawn.
  4. Sep 2, 2006 #3


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    Plants can't feel and lie detectors don't work. End of story. :smile:
  5. Sep 8, 2006 #4
    apparently i read somewhere that the way a polygraph works is instead of reading brainwaves or pulse or anything like that it reads reaction impulses in the cells of whatever its connected to so its not a matter of conciousness its a matter of feeling and reacting to its environment
  6. Sep 9, 2006 #5


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    Lie detectors measure a lot of things accurately, for example rate of heart beats, perspiration rate and probably a lot of other factors.
    There is nothing wrong with any of these data; what IS unscientific is to believe you discover by this whether the test subject lies or not.

    A lie detector is based on a great idea, but the instrument today is a too crude tool to be reliable.
  7. Sep 10, 2006 #6
    I just saw the episode in question the other day, and I have a couple comments as to their "experiment"

    1) there was no control. For instance, they could've given a polygraph to a fake plant to see if there was a reading at all. Or, they could've let a plant sit there all day without sending it negative vibes.
    2) Why the polygraph test at all?
  8. Jan 4, 2011 #7
    I agree with ptabor. I've heard similar responses are observed when you connect it to a metallic body!!!
  9. Jan 4, 2011 #8
    Claims of plants reacting to stimuli is not new.
    The Telegraph plant, Desmodium gyrans, is capable of rapid movement and is known to respond to sound. Also called the Dancing Plant as people will play music for it to move with.
  10. Jan 4, 2011 #9


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    It is obvious that some plants contain pressure sensitive structures. For example any climbing plant that has tendrils (including common peas and beans), mimosa pudica (the "sensitive plant" houseplant), carnivorous plants like the venus flytrap, etc.

    Whether you call this "feeling" is a question about semantics, not about plants.
  11. Jan 4, 2011 #10
    In any sense of the word as it's meant by humans, NO. In any sense of the word as it applies to animal life, NO.

  12. Jan 4, 2011 #11


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    I like this guy.
  13. Jan 12, 2011 #12
    I actually read the book years back that the mythbusters show was based on. It's called Primary Perception by Cleve Backster. There were also experiments on cultures in yogurt. One of the most interesting experiments had to do with the connection between a plant and it's caregiver, owner whatever. So this woman is afraid of heights and flying, they hooked her and the plant up in completely different locations. Then she was sent up in a helicopter. Afterwards the data was compared in relation to time. Turns out that little plant got real excited at the same time she did. Explain that. His methods and the book as a whole seemed pretty legit to me. Definitely an interesting read.
  14. Jan 13, 2011 #13
    Honestly, I stopped keeping track of "lie detectors" of the type used by the Mythbusters.

    Lets remember what it does however: measure 'skin' conductance through resistance (measured by electrodes, Heart Rate ALSO through electrical conductance, respiration is irrelevant here, as are the controls on movement.

    If you blast electrodes with a damned CO2 fire extinguisher, it's going to:

    change the temp of the electrodes briefly.
    Change the elasticity of the band (although who cares) briefly
    and yes pretty much any physical assault on the plant.

    BillPrestonESQ: Primary Perception isn't even up for debate unless you want to make a better case for yogurt that thinks and feels. That "study" has been so thoroughly discredited, you should be able to find plenty of peer-reviewed material explaining why there is no "there" there.
  15. Jan 13, 2011 #14
    Thing is he didn't blast the plants with a Co2 fire extinguisher. These were controlled experiments. You should probably atleast learn about his methods before commenting on them. I actually read the book, did you? Cells communicate using electrical signals, this is what was measured in the experiments and again what do you know of his methods? Can you explain how he got those results in the experiment I described above?
  16. Jan 14, 2011 #15
    The reference to the CO2 extinguisher is to the Mythbusters episode that has previously been discussed here.
  17. Jan 14, 2011 #16

    Ivan Seeking

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    This is a claim that can easily be tested and duplicated. If anyone has a related paper, send me a pm and we can open the thread.
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