Baciadonna, Luigi; Macri, Catherine; and Giurfa, Martin (2023) Associative learning: Unmet criterion for plant sentience. Animal Sentience 33(23)
Miguel Segundo-Ortin and Paco Calvo, Plant sentience? Between romanticism and denial: Science
In a thought-provoking target article, Segundo-Ortin & Calvo (S&C) discuss the possibility that plants are sentient, focusing on a series of capacities normally attributed only to human and nonhuman animals. S&C propose learning as a marker for sentience. We review studies reporting associative learning in plants and find that they either lack essential controls or fail to produce replicable results. The capacity to learn has not yet been demonstrated in plants, so it cannot be used to support the hypothesis that plants are sentient. Further studies are needed. But agnosticism about sentience should not deter us from investigating unexpected new capacities in plants.
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