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What is plant psychology ?

 Don't underestimate the "minds" of plants

A study confirms that plants have brains, so what is the nature of those brains? How do plants use it?

Everyone thinks that plants of all kinds do not have a brain at all, as they do not have a nervous system. like that owned by humans and animals. But this belief seems to be changing, with a group of scientists recently discovering that the seeds of some plants behave as if they have a "brain" that decides when to start germination.

A research team at the University of Birmingham, UK, noted that a group of cells within the seeds of the Thale cress plant , scientifically known as Arabidopsis thaliana, have the ability to assess the environmental conditions surrounding seeds within the soil in order to make the decision to germinate, and it is surprising that this is done in a manner similar to the way the human brain decides whether the body should move!

The study published in early June this year with proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences PNAS, shows that these cells that act like the brain are mainly concentrated inside the embryonic root of the seed.

The study divides these cells into two groups: the first stimulates the continuation of the process of inactivity and non-germination, and the second stimulates the germination and plant growth of the seed. The groups of cells that inhibit and stimulate germination are communicated through hormones in a conversation and discussion, and the decisive decision is made on the start of the germination process.

revolutionary discovery

Although this scientific discovery is revolutionary and changes our idea of plants (from brainless beings to objects capable of making data-based decisions), this discovery promises another revolution to address the expected future food crisis. Understanding the exact way seeds grow will help find ways to increase food crops.

"This discovery will help genetically modify plant seeds to synchronize the germination process and grow all seeds simultaneously, which will increase the mechanized harvesting of agricultural crops, which is the biggest challenge we face due to climate change," explains research team leader George Bassel, professor at the University of Birmingham's School of Biosciences.

"This will also reduce the use of weeds; When asked how long it would take to use these genetically modified seeds to increase food crops, Basil replied: "It may take time, as this technique is still in its early stages."

The timing of germination is central to plant life; seed production from idleness and hibernation to growth and life should be carried out in appropriate conditions to ensure that the plant continues to live. If the seed begins to germinate early, it damages the plant due to adverse weather conditions. If the seed is delayed in growth and germination, it will weaken the plant's chances of life because of its inability to compete with its natural peers for light and food.

The team of researchers was able to reach that discovery by using a computer mathematical model to make it clear that the process of communication or conversation through chemical compounds , which occur between the two groups of stimulating and inhibitory cells, controls the plant's sensitivity to the surrounding environment, and then makes the decision to germinate. The researchers then demonstrated the results of that mathematical model through a laboratory experiment in which the seeds of the mouse ear rashad plant were genetically modified to make their cells more able to communicate with each other, to ensure that the decision to germinate was primarily related to that hormonal dialogue between the two cell groups.

conscious plant

On the other hand, this discovery joins the list of recent discoveries related to the idea of a mind or consciousness in plants. Another research published in plant Physiology in the middle of last year revealed that plants can feel when touched and it doesn't just stop there, as the research has shown that they also respond to touch in different ways depending on the nature of the touch!

"Although plants don't complain when a flower is picked or run over while hiking they are fully aware of those contacts and respond instantly," explains Oliver Van Aen, a researcher at the University of Western Australia. But that doesn't mean she feels it and realizes it as it does to us human beings.

In addition, many other published research shows that plants can hear insects eating them, and then produce chemical compounds to stop them. It has also been shown that different plants can communicate and talk to each other by exchanging messages from underground chemical compounds through the fungus network that coexists at their roots, in order to warn each other of the surrounding risks or change in climatic conditions.

In addition, he found that plants can learn and remember a particular behavior through cop adaptation, just as in the famous Pavlov dog experience! "Plants lack brain or nerve tissue, but they have a very complex network of chemical compound-based signals within their cells similar to animal memory processes," explains Dr. Monica Jagliano, a researcher at the University of Western Australia and editor of The Language of Plants.

All of this will turn our awareness of these peaceful and silent green beings and our relations with them upside down. It seems that they can feel, listen, talk, learn and even make decisions. This raises scientific questions about how this happens, philosophical about the nature of awareness and awareness, and morality about our relationship with plants. But science alone Is what can answer us all those questions that we don't have yet.


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