Pavlovian conditioning in plants
The materials required for the science fair project:
- 20 Mimosa pudica plants growing in a plastic basin
- An air conditioned room with dimmer light
- A clock
- An assistant
1. For this science fair project, the independent variable is the change in room temperature and dimming of lights. The dependent variable is how the Mimosa pudica plant reacts - whether it closes its leaves or not. The constants (control variables) are the number of plants used, the number of days the plants have been given the conditional stimulus of lowering the room temperature and the brightness of the room.
2. Twenty Mimosa pudica plants are grown in a plastic basin. They are kept and grown indoors in a room with windows so that the plants receive sufficient sunlight. The plants are watered daily and kept healthy.
3. Once the plants have grown to about 200mm in length, the testing begins. For the next 6 days, the plants are kept in a well lit room for 12 hours and kept in darkness for the next 12 hours. During the transformation from the bright room to the dark one, the temperature of the air conditioner is reduced from 25 °C to 16 °C. The lighting in the room is also gradually reduced from bright to dark in 15 minutes. The leaves of the Mimosa pudica plants will also close in the dark.
4. On the seventh day, the temperature of the room is reduced to 16°C after 12 hours of brightness, but the room is not dimmed. It is observed whether the leaves of the Mimosa pudica plants will remain open or close. The observation is recorded in the table given below.
Basic safety requirements