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Extended plant cognition: a critical consideration of the concept

Parise, A. G. and Marder, M. (2023) Extended plant cognition: a critical consideration of the concept. Theoretical and Experimental Plant Physiology. ISSN 2197-0025

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1007/s40626-023-00281-5


Within the framework of studies of plants as cognitive organisms, there is a hypothesis that plant cognitive processes are not enclosed within their bodies but extend to the environment. The extended plant cognition (EPC) hypothesis suggests that when plants modify the environment around them through the release of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), root exudates, and the sustenance of mycorrhizal networks, they extend their sensorial apparatus and externalize a part of their information-processing system. As a result, a plant can no longer be seen as an isolated organism easily distinguishable from its milieu. In this article, we discuss the implications of understanding plants as extended cognitive organisms and assess four test cases that corroborate the EPC hypothesis, one for each possible channel of extended plant cognition discussed here. We conclude that this new approach can redefine how we understand plants and their environment. EPC may also be a fruitful source of inspiration to develop new techniques in agriculture by enhancing the external elements of plant cognition.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Biological Sciences > Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
ID Code:112970


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