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Can Houseplants Make You Smarter?

Can Houseplants Make You Smarter?

By Colleen Vanderlinden, Planet Green

Houseplants clean the air and brighten a room. Occasionally, they drive us mad as we wonder how exactly we managed to kill yet another “unkillable” houseplant. (In that way, they provide great lessons in perseverance as well!) But it looks like there’s one more great reason to grow houseplants: their presence in your workspace might actually make you smarter.

According to a recent study published in The Journal of Environmental Psychology, just having plants in your work space is enough to increase your attention span. An increase in attention span means that we’re able to remember more of what we read. To test the hypotheses, the study’s authors gave subjects a Reading Span Task, which requires reading sentences aloud, then remembering the last word in each sentence. This requires reading, memorization, and recall abilities, and switching between the three.

The researchers had their entire test pool complete Reading Span Tasks to get a baseline reading. Then they moved some of the people to a room with no plants, and others to a room that had four plants around the desk. They were all asked to repeat the Reading Span Tasks, and the people who worked near a plant improved overall, while those without plants stayed roughly the same.

Beauty, fresh air, the joy of caring for another living thing — all great reasons to have a few houseplants around. If they help increase attention spans, all the better!

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Read more: Home, Lawns & Gardens, Mental Wellness, Nature,

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Samantha, selected from Planet Green

Planet Green is the multi-platform media destination devoted to the environment and dedicated to helping people understand how humans impact the planet and how to live a more environmentally sustainable lifestyle. Its two robust websites, and, offer original, inspiring, and entertaining content related to how we can evolve to live a better, brighter future. Planet Green is a division of Discovery Communications.


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6:45PM PDT on May 2, 2013

Maybe we should fill all classrooms with plants.

2:53AM PDT on Apr 20, 2013

Very interesting. Thanks for sharing.

12:48PM PDT on Apr 2, 2013

Very interesting.Thanks for sharing

12:02PM PDT on Apr 2, 2013

Well, I don't know...but without my plants it would be VERY empty in here!

11:42PM PDT on Mar 31, 2013

Thank you so much for this blog.
Well, I do not know how true it will makes us smart, but one thing for sure is that, plants really lifted our moods up when we are feeling down at times.
In many fast-paced big major cities, it really makes us feel good and relaxed to see a plant growing well when we retreat to our own sanctuary each evening!

8:34PM PST on Feb 24, 2013

time to get some plants for the inside!

3:09PM PST on Jan 15, 2013


8:59AM PST on Dec 13, 2012

Thank you for sharing.

5:23AM PDT on Sep 5, 2012

thank you

7:57AM PDT on Aug 23, 2012

Interesting study.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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