plant perception (a.k.a. the Backster effect). Plants are living things with cellulose cell walls, lacking nervous or sensory organs. Animals do not. Grover Cleveland Backster Jr. could always spot a liar. When he publicized his findings, the so-called Backster effect became a pop-culture. The Spirit Science Source Field series begins here, as we dive into the field by exploring something called the backster effect! Cleve Backster was very.

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On a night in interrogation specialist Cleve Backster taught how to perform lie detection to policemen. On a whim, Backster attached electrodes of a galvanometer to a nearby dracaena plant. A galvanometer is an instrument that detects minute electric currents, often used as a part of the polygraph lie detector.

When Backster began to water the plant, the galvanometer did not show the same growth in electrical conductivity as he would have expected.

Instead, the needle of the galvanometer started to move downward, a response often only seen with surges of human emotion. Caught completely by surprise, Backster started formulating ideas about plant conscience. Because he knew that that some of the strongest emotional stimuli came from life-threatening situations, Backster thought about burning the actual leaf the electrodes were attached to.

Before he could reach for a match, the tracing pattern on the graph swept upwards as if in response to the thought of threat.

The Secret Life of Plants – Harvard Science Review

It is no argument that humans use their senses to feel, think and act. What about organisms that lack the complex nervous system that we share? Would animal-rights activists protect the cockroach that was stepped on or even the callous sponge and coral? Take this a step further and let us wonder effect the life of plants. Plant biologists have long spurned the crazy ideas of botanical feelings and consciences such as those explored by Backster, but does that mean that these topics are not worth studying?

In the book The Secret Life of Plants by Peter Tompkins and Christopher Bird, several brazen souls decided to explore a topic that is today considered as pseudoscience: Some went to great lengths to see if plants could detect, understand and pinpoint pain. While this research and subsequent book made a great splash in the media, it efficiently turned away scientists from the study of senses of plant biology as a sort of the unthinkable, taboo if you will.


Senses like sight and smell, a domain argued to belong to animals, also apply to the plant world and attests to the significance of plant senses.

plant perception (a.k.a. the Backster effect)

Only by learning how plants see the world through their senses can we understand how to use these interactions in the context of agriculture, ecology and human life.

Although the idea that daffodils may be timing their flowers for our pleasure may be enchanting, plants have developed ways of knowing their world through sight not too differently from ours. The concept of photoperiodism conveys how the length of the night or day as many call it dictates seasonal responses that include flowering. Get this though; plants can also perceive color. Whereas humans largely rely on two types of photoreceptors rods and conesplants dwarf that number with at least 11 different kinds of photoreceptors that aid plants in reacting to sunlight.

Even things like fragrance can prove to be useful to plants.

One study in explored the significance of plant volatiles as a method that parasitic plants use to detect host plants. A recent study in has provided evidence that plants seem to produce defense responses in reaction to effcet herbivores.

All of these senses are interesting but what of it?

Cleve Backster – Wikipedia

Surly plants can use this information to react to the world, but the curiosity arises when one asks whether plants can organize themselves to do something more than just a slight movement to the sun, or the blooming of a flower. Last May, several researchers looked into just how plants can react so quickly to oncoming herbivore invasions even if the plants were not in direct contact with the herbivores.


Similar to how some plants can pick up the backstwr of fellow neighbors or notice when another plant was casting a shadow, plants were communicating. Effet this study, bean plants were set up in close proximity to each other and when aphids attacked one bean plant, nearby plants picked up this effext of warnings and then produced plant defenses, chemicals like methyl salicylate that bakster to repel the herbivores and to attract the predators of aphids.

After a couple of days, volatile gases were collected from each of the plants and it was demonstrated that plants connected to the central plant via underground fungal networks were able to produce protective chemicals as effrct to the two unconnected bean plants. Would it be possible to use a tribute plant far away from commercial crops as a sort of early warning for the others? How plants react to their environment and to each other ultimately comes back to our interactions with plants.

Thus, there is effectt more of a need to study how plants see this consistently evolving world, not through conscience thinking, but through their senses. Who knows—because after all, none of us are plants. Tompkins, Peter, and Christopher Bird.

The Secret Life of Plants. What a Plant Knows: A Field Guide to the Senses. De Moraes, John F. Tooker, and Mark C.

Plant perception (paranormal)

Bruce, Michael Birkett, John C. Caulfield, Christine Woodcock, John A. Pickett, and David Johnson. FallTristan Wang.

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