Miguel Segundo-Ortin and Paco Calvo, Plant sentience? Between romanticism and denial: Science


Plants may produce fascinating behavioural phenomena for which the label ‘cognitive process’ may be applicable, at least by some definitions. Segundo-Ortin & Calvo (2023) base their hypothesis that plants might be sentient on the premise of demonstrated presence of cognitive complexity. However, the way phenomena are ascribed, and how the term ‘cognitive’ is used by Segundo-Ortin & Calvo, deviates from the common practice in studies of animal cognition, implying greater complexity than seems justified. It thus provides a questionable basis for attributing sentience to plants.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Author Biography

Carel ten Cate is Professor of Animal Behaviour at the Institute of Biology of Leiden University. His work concerns acoustic communication and cognitive processes in birds and comparative studies relating these to human language and music. Together with Susan Healy he is editor of the book ‘Avian Cognition’ (2017, Cambridge University Press). Website