Insufficient evidence for habituation in Mimosa pudica. Response to Gagliano et al. (2014)


Gagliano et al. (Oecologia 175(1):63–72, 2014) reported that Mimosa pudica habituates to repeated stimulation, as shown by a reduction in response, dishabituation, and stimulus specificity. I argue that Gagliano et al.’s data show an absence of dishabituation, that their experimental design needs an additional condition to test whether there is stimulus specificity, and that most of their data can be explained by motor fatigue. Some data are not easily explained by fatigue, and I suggest a further analysis that may clarify the issue. The status of habituation in Mimosa remains uncertain.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig 1


  1. Calvo P, Baluska F (2015) Conditions for minimal intelligence across eukaryota: a cognitive science perspective. Front Psychol 6:1–4

    Google Scholar 

  2. Dussutour A, Latty T, Beekman M, Simpson SJ (2010) Amoeboid organism solves complex nutritional challenge. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 107(10):4607–4611

    CAS  Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  3. Gagliano M et al (2014) Experience teaches plants to learn faster and forget slower in environments where it matters. Oecologia 175(1):63–72

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  4. Garzon PC, Keizer F (2011) Plants: adaptive behaviour, root-brains and minimal cognition. Adap Behav 19(3):155–171

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Kenzer AL et al (2013) Stimulus specificity and dishabituation of operant responding in humans. J Exp Anal Behav 100(1):61–78

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  6. Rankin CH et al (2009) Habituation revisited: an updated and revised description of the behavioral characteristics of habituation. Neurobiol Learn Mem 92(2):135–138

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  7. Reid CR, Garnier S, Beekman M, Latty T (2015) Information integration and multiattribute decision making in non-neuronal organisms. Anim Behav 100:44–50

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Segall JE, Block SM, Berg HC (1986) Temporal comparisons in bacterial chemotaxis. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 83(23):8987–8991

    CAS  Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  9. Shemesh H, Arbiv A, Gersani M, Ovadia O, Novoplansky A (2010) The effects of nutrient dynamics on root patch choice. PLoS One 5(5):e10824

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information




RB conceived, designed, and executed this study and wrote the manuscript. No other person is entitled to authorship.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Robert Biegler.

Additional information

Communicated by Richard Karban.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Biegler, R. Insufficient evidence for habituation in Mimosa pudica. Response to Gagliano et al. (2014). Oecologia 186, 33–35 (2018).

Download citation


  • Minimal intelligence
  • Habituation
  • Non-associative learning
  • Plant behaviour