Can Plants Think?
In his latest piece for The New Yorker, Michael Pollan discusses the scientific controversy regarding the field of “plant neurobiology,” and whether plant intelligence exists. Some plants, he writes, can hear caterpillars chomping on a neighbor’s leaves. Others display altruistic behavior towards kin, restraining their growth to allow relatives to thrive. But is any of that evidence of intelligence?
Michael Pollan is the author of multiple books, including This Is Your Mind on Plants (Penguin Press, 2021), How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression and Transcendence and The Omnivore’s Dilemma. A longtime contributor to The New York Times, he is also the Knight Professor of Journalism at Berkeley.
Christopher Intagliata was Science Friday’s senior producer. He once served as a prop in an optical illusion and speaks passable Ira Flatowese.