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IKEA Does 30 Day Plant Bullying Exercise…for Science!

IKEA, a popular furniture company, recently delved into some experimental science. In their initiative, the company asked a group of students to “bully” one plant and “be kind” to another. Surprisingly, the bully words were mainly curses that the children uttered. Their recordings were then played continuously on loop over a period of thirty days and the results measured.

Given the nature of the program and the attention it attracted over the internet, the study soon went viral

In one of the recordings, the bullied plant was queried it was even alive. In another recording, one of the children exclaimed that it wasn’t even green! On the other hand, compliments were handed out to the other plant featuring words like, “I like your stamen, that’s a very nice stamen” and “I wish I could turn sunlight into food like you can, that’s very clever”.

We’ve simply highlighted the aforementioned samples so that readers can get a gist of what really happened. Unbelievably, after a month, the tormented and bullied plant was in a worse off condition compared to the other plant that had received compliments.

While the results of the study are quite interesting, to say the least, IKEA has not been forthcoming with an explanation of what really transpired. According to their YouTube video, they state that plants have feelings, just like people. In the video, we get to have a glimpse of students being part of the study.


The very assertion that plants can have feelings, let alone comprehend language sounds like a joke the first time the idea is pitched to one. However, a hint of doubt starts to creep in once one notices that during the study, one of the plants actually had a note that alluded to the study being based on a study by one Dr. Masaru Emoto. The study was focused on the molecular structure of water under the influence of vibrations and thoughts. Sound legit?

In truth, the study is pseudoscientific since it is based on unproven theories. One of the other assumptions of the study was that prayer could actually cleanse polluted water

Comprehensively, the study sought to impart life skills to children. The main objective was to inform them about the dangers bullying poses to others and to promote moral values. The science bit seems to have been a bit far-fetched since if true, it would revolutionize how we behave when around plants. There’s no saying that such kind of advancement could lead to the discovery of great discoveries in various fields like agriculture and medicine.

Critics also criticized the study by referring to the fact that there was no way that mere words could make a plant wilt. For such a conclusion to be drawn, numerous other studies would need to be conducted on a larger scale in order to determine the authenticity of the assertions. At present, IKEA has not been able to comment whether they were willing to comment further on the matter.

The Science

The lesson here is that everything benefits from positivity

At present, the only thing the study seems to have got right is the fact that plants are responsive to sound vibrations. This fact was proven after studies were done to determine the actions of pollinating plants when around the sound of buzzing bees.

According to Michael Schöner, a biologist at the University of Greifswald, through their mechanoreceptors, plants could respond to specific sound vibrations. The mechanoreceptors can easily get triggered when in the vicinity of fine, hairy structures that look and function akin to a membrane.

Over the years, there have been many gardeners who have come to the fore to claim that by saying nice things to plants, they have enabled their plants to grow healthily. However, there has not been any conclusive proof of their claims.

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