We humans aren’t the most logical creatures. Take information processing: if we were perfect reasoners, we would absorb all the new facts we learn and use them to modify our view of the world. But while we do something like this with good news, bad news tends to go in one ear and out the other. While this good news / bad news effect gives you a more positive outlook on life, it can make you blindly optimistic, unprepared for the real consequences of medical problems or natural disasters.
It doesn’t have a brain, but the Venus fly trap
can still use short-term memory.
We tend to treat plants like passive objects that can ornament a home or yard, although perhaps requiring a bit more care than, say, a vase. But plants are in fact complex organisms that can interact with their environment, sense smells and sounds, communicate with each other and with insects, and even process information.
To see how plants’ abilities stack up in comparison with human sensing and thinking, Scientific American interviewed Daniel Chamovitz, a plant biologist and author of What a Plant Knows. In addition to plants’ unexpected abilities, Chamovitz shares that they have some downright improbable skills, skills that tend to require a brain—skills like memory.