What happens when you feed one plant with compliments and another with negative remarks?
Furniture giant IKEA got students involved in a social experiment to raise awareness on the effects of bullying. The experiment involved two nearly-identical houseplants that were placed in a school and given the same amount of water, fertiliser and sunlight for 30 days.
The only difference was that students were instructed to verbally bully one of the plants and compliment the other one over a 30-day period.
One plant was played hurtful messages such as, “You’re not even green,” and, “You look rotten.” The other plant was made to listen to positive comments like, “Seeing you blossom makes me happy.”
The plant that received compliments remained healthy over the course of the month, whereas the other plant was visibly struggling and had dull, droopy brown leaves.
“Plants have feelings, just like people,” the company wrote alongside a YouTube video of the project.
IKEA hopes to extend the project to other schools as well. “It has helped children and their families understand the impact that words can have,” Vinod Jayan, managing director of IKEA UAE, said.
“It was so successful in driving awareness and reducing bullying amongst these children that more schools in the UAE have approached us to conduct the experiment at their locations,” Jayan added.
The plant theory is so popular that MythBusters, an American-Australian television program, even shot an episode on the phenomenon. They found that plants that grow in silence aren’t as healthy as those that hear human voices.
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