Your Brain On Plants

Featured Author: Chloe Kim

When interviewing plant lovers for our Instagram, @peoplewithplants_official, often people have said that plants have helped them to destress or feel a sense of calm. This came up one too

many times to be pure coincidence. Being the psychology-loving nerd I am, I had always wondered about the scientific backing behind this seemingly “mood-boosting magic”.

The research surrounding plants and their effects on one’s brain, body, and mood is astounding.

Here are some of a few conclusions from scientific studies on plants.

Interacting and caring for plants can boost your mood.

Do you feel calmer after watering your plant or transplanting it into a new pot?

A study published in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology studied the effects of human

interaction with indoor plants. The experiments randomly split participants into two groups. One

group was assigned to complete a computer task. The second group was assigned to transplant

an indoor plant. After a psychological evaluation of both groups, the subjects in the group

assigned to transplant the plant felt more comfortable and soothed. Additionally, these subjects’ blood pressures were lower than when they had started the task, which is a physiological trait that signifies low stress.

Even crazier: the sight of plants is enough to boost your mood.

Do you ever look up from your work to see your plant on your desk and feel just a little bit


A study done in Japan studied the moods of 63 office workers. The experimenters created a

control period where they studied the office workers’ 3-minute break periods for one week.

During this time, the workers did not have plants on their desks. Next, the experimenters

performed an intervention by putting a plant on each of the workers’ desks. The plant stayed on

the workers’ desks for 4 weeks.

The experimenters found that around 27% of the workers had a decrease in pulse in the period when they gazed at the plants. A low pulse is a good indicator of low stress. The experiments

also used psychological assessments to find the plants’ presence contributed to psychological stress reduction.

This suggests that the sight of

plants contribute to some psychological benefit.

Plants can make you more productive.

We’re always searching for ways to be more productive in our day-to-day lives. Could plants be

the answer?

A study done in the United States studied a workplace. The workplace was divided into a green office which was filled with large, green-headed plants, and a lean office, with no plants. Three weeks after the plants were installed into the green office, all of the employees in both the green and lean office (for a total of 148 subjects) completed a questionnaire. The participants in the green office self-reported higher levels of productivity and concentration.

In conclusion…

I am definitely guilty of buying plants for the aesthetic factor. I mean, if you look up “room inspiration” on sites like Pinterest, you are bound to find numerous photos of spaces filled with plants.

However, plants are so much more than a green accent to a boring space.

In reality, plants go beyond your typical decor. According to science, plants can change the way we feel and perform. Potentially plants should be in all rooms, office spaces, and classrooms to

create a positive environment.

At the very least, don’t feel bad about bringing home an extra plant the next time you visit a


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