Arinmusic
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Does music affect plant growth?

For school some students and I are testing if music affects plant growth. I was wondering if any of you have tried this theory or heard about it. If you have tried it, did it seem to affect the growth of your plant and what genre of music was your plant listening to? If you haven't tried it, do you think it would benefit the plant at all?


Thank you for the help regardless! :-()

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Re: Does music affect plant growth?

Thanks for bringing up this topic. I was just discussing it with my wife yesterday and wanted to revisit it. :)

The answer to your question is no. Music does not affect plants. Scientific experiments have proved that music does not affect plants. The notion that music affects plants is a falsehood introduced in the 1960's and 1970's that has become a popular myth. The main culprit for introducing that falsehood is a book entitled The Secret Life of Plants, whose claims have since been discredited by scientific experiments. That book came out during the years when other false claims made millions of dollars for their producers, books like Chariots of the Gods, as well as books and movies about the Bermuda Triangle and Bigfoot.

The Secret Life of Plants, and the discredited notion that music could have an effect on plants set back the study of plants for many years. However new studies have found that plants do have a kind of intelligence, a plant intelligence, that functions with chemicals. Here is a fascinating article, The Intelligent Plant, that discusses current scientific experiments about how plants appear to have awareness of their surroundings and many of the amazing things they can do through the sensitivity of their roots. It also discusses how notions like music affecting plants are a myth. ;)

It may be an interesting experiment to do and then assign the article for the class to read, as an exploration of how unscrupulous authors basically lie for profits and how these lies can lodge themselves in popular culture and through repetition seem to be truthful when in fact they were a hoax. Please take a moment to read The Intelligent Plant, it's a fascinating read about current scientific discoveries about plants.

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Re: Does music affect plant growth?

Interesting, Roger! I will look for the book.

It never hurts to do your own experiment, learning how to research questions like that is the main point. But you need to be really careful about confounded variables, other things that could be affecting the results.

There's a classic study of a factory (maybe GE), that I think was done back in WWII days. They were looking for the influence of better lighting on worker productivity. So for one group of people they increased the lighting, while nothing changed for a different group. Sure enough the group with increased lighting did significantly better. Then they tried DECREASING the lighting for one group. Sure enough the group with DEcreased lighting did better! Huh ? :shock:

Turns out the important variable was attention. The group for which a change was made, felt like people were paying attention to them, watching what they did, so they worked extra hard.

So you have to watch out if your plants that are getting music are getting anything else different, including people spending more time with them....
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Re: Does music affect plant growth?

Webmaster,thank you for the link to the article. I'm still trying to get through it, some parts I only skimmed, but it is very very interesting so far and already. :D
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

Arinmusic
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Re: Does music affect plant growth?

Thanks for all the help. This is a contest for a gifted class so we are making sure that we can control as many variables as we can.

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Re: Does music affect plant growth?

Greetings, My wife caught me talking to my peppers today, well I wasn't really. They, plants, do benefite from us touching them, breathing on them. When I sing, not to the plant you understand, I sing all the time, they seem to get something from it. The plants I pay most attention to, do the best. They all get the same water, food and light. But the ones I fondle grow better. If a plant is ill, the importance given it gives the best return.

I don't know about music from the radio, but wife and the girls are planing music for the cows.

Have a great day.

Richard

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Re: Does music affect plant growth?

...we are making sure that we can control as many variables as we can.
Well... you can control the variables but the test is invalid. It's like testing which sugar pill is most effective at curing the common cold. Do you intend to tell the students that music has no effect?

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Does music affect plant growth?

excuse me? why do you say the test is invalid? If music has no effect on plants, that is what they will find. Why tell them the outcome ahead of time?

Yes, I do think plants respond to people's attention, not necessarily in any mystical way. CO2 in our breath, a bit of increased air circulation, being touched and moved (they do better with fans on them too) AND the fact that if we are paying close attention, we are more likely to notice what is going on with them, whether aphids or drying soil or whatever. "The best fertilizer is the gardener's shadow." That's why I cautioned on the attention factor.

If you did a test on which sugar pill cured the common cold better, you would likely find that one of them worked better than the other. Then your task would be to find out why. Placebo effect is a way of harnessing and focusing the body's natural healing capacity and it is very potent, more effective than many medicines. So bigger sugar pills may have more placebo effect than smaller ones, bitter coated ones have more placebo effect than sweet, etc. Whatever convinces the patient that this is a strong medicine.

So if OP's students do find some effect for music, then their task is to figure out why and where it comes from, not necessarily the music itself.
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Re: Does music affect plant growth?

That's a good point. Any time I have started seeds it's a given that out of the same batch of seeds some seeds are more viable, some sprouts are hardier and some plants more productive. How do you control for a defect inherent in a seed? There may be differences between the plants but it is important that it is understood by the students that those differences have nothing to do with the music. And what would aid that understanding and make the test more meaningful is to have a control set of plants that don't have music. The OP didn't mention a control group.

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Re: Does music affect plant growth?

I assumed a control group and a number of plants in each group, which helps control for the innate variability amongst plants. How would you have any idea if the music was affecting them or not, without a control group?
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Arinmusic
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Re: Does music affect plant growth?

Thank you all for the data! This is for an ecybermission project so I hope its okay with everyone if I type up some of the thoughts posted here.

Arinmusic
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Re: Does music affect plant growth?

webmaster wrote:
...we are making sure that we can control as many variables as we can.
Well... you can control the variables but the test is invalid. It's like testing which sugar pill is most effective at curing the common cold. Do you intend to tell the students that music has no effect?

We will have 6 different plants, one with no music, and the others with different genres. I am actually one of the three students running the test. It doesn't really matter the result we get as long we can use the scientific method properly.

Arinmusic
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Re: Does music affect plant growth?

webmaster wrote:The OP didn't mention a control group.
I'm just in a stage of collecting research to support or deny the theory.

Arinmusic
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Re: Does music affect plant growth?

Again thank you all so much

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Re: Does music affect plant growth?

You're welcome! :)

Would be great to keep us updated! All the best. ;)

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