Ellen J. Langer

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A series of studies was conducted to elucidate a phenomenon here referred to as the "illusion of control." An illusion of control was denned as an expectancy of a personal success probability inappropriately higher than the objective probability would warrant. It was predicted that factors from skill situations (competition, choice, familiarity,(More)
This study explores whether negative stereotypes about aging contribute to memory loss in old age. The research participants consisted of old and young Chinese hearing, American Deaf, and American hearing individuals. Members of the mainland Chinese and the American Deaf cultures were recruited on the basis of the belief that they would be less likely than(More)
After mindfulness is defined, a brief history of the research on the topic to date is reviewed. This work essentially falls into three categories: health, business, and education. Considerations of mindlessness as a social issue are then addressed. A brief introduction to the articles in this issue follows. These articles speak to mindfulness as it relates(More)
A field experiment was conducted to assess the effects of enhanced personal responsibility and choice on a group of nursing home residents. It was expected that the debilitated condition of many of the aged residing in institutional settings is, at least in part, a result of living in a virtually decision-free environment and consequently is potentially(More)
Can direct change in state of consciousness through specific mental techniques extend human life and reverse age-related declines? To address this question, 73 residents of 8 homes for the elderly (mean age = 81 years) were randomly assigned among no treatment and 3 treatments highly similar in external structure and expectations: the Transcendental(More)
In a study testing whether the relationship between exercise and health is moderated by one's mind-set, 84 female room attendants working in seven different hotels were measured on physiological health variables affected by exercise. Those in the informed condition were told that the work they do (cleaning hotel rooms) is good exercise and satisfies the(More)
The present article will focus on the cognitive theory of mindfulness and its importance in achieving unconditional self-acceptance. The goal of the mindful perspective is to increase cognitive flexibility and to thereby increase behavioral flexibility and the ability to adapt to one’s current environment in a meaningful manner. Empirical evidence spanning(More)
Whether one believes acting stupid to be the antithesis of acting smart or intelligently [most of us?], or perhaps prefers to regard stupid behaviour as foolishness in the face of misplaced wisdom [Sternberg], this volume brings together a rich diversity of approaches and opinion to one of life’s persistent questions. Some 15 authors gather here in an(More)
Elderly nursing home residents who were tested as part of an intervention designed to increase feelings of choice and personal responsibility over daily events were reevaluated 18 month later. Nurses' ratings and health and mortality indicators suggest that the experimental treatment and /or the processes that it set in motion had sustained beneficial(More)
Three field experiments were conducted to test the hypothesis that complex social behavior that appears to be enacted mindfully instead may be performed without conscious attention to relevant semantics. Subjects in compliance paradigms received communications that either were or were not semantically sensible, were or were not structurally consistent with(More)