Saturday, March 19, 2011

ellen langer

Dr. Ellen Langer is a world renowned professor of psychology at Harvard University. Her most recent book is Counterclockwise: Mindful Health and the Power of Possibility. In addition she has written the bestselling book, Mindfulness, The Power of Mindful Learning, and On Becoming An Artist. Her website is at
Dr. Langer has described her work on the illusion of control, aging, decision-making, and mindfulness theory in over 200 research articles and six academic books. Her work has led to numerous academic honors including a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Award for Distinguished Contributions to Psychology in the Public Interest of the American Psychological Association, the Distinguished Contributions of Basic Science to Applied Psychology award from the American Association of Applied & Preventive Psychology, the Adult Development and Aging Distinguished Research Achievement Award from the American Psychological Association, the James McKeen Cattel Award, and the Gordon Allport Intergroup Relations Prize.
The citation for the APA distinguished contributions award reads, in part, "…her pioneering work revealed the profound effects of increasing mindful behavior…and offers new hope to millions whose problems were previously seen as unalterable and inevitable. Ellen Langer has demonstrated repeatedly how our limits are of our own making."
Dr. Langer is a Fellow of The Sloan Foundation; The American Psychological Association, the American Psychological Society, The American Association for the Advancement of Science; Computers and Society; The Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues; The Society of Experimental Social Psychologists. In addition to other honors, she has been a guest lecturer in Japan, Malaysia, Germany, and Argentina.
Included among her books are:
Mindfulness. Reading, MA: Da Capo Books, 1989. (Translated into thirteen languages.)
The Power of Mindful Learning. Reading, MA: Da Capo Books, 1997. (Translated into nine languages.)
On Becoming an Artist: Reinventing Yourself Through Mindful Creativity. Ballantine Books, 2005.
Counterclockwise: Mindful Health and the Power of Possibility. Ballantine Books, 2009.
Additional Resources
Ellen's Website at
Chronicle of Higher Education Profile: The Art of Living Mindfully: Nothing is ever certain, says the psychologist Ellen Langer. We should make the most of that.
Harvard Magazine profile: "The Mindfulness Chronicles: On the psychology of possibility"
Radio Boston Interview by Deborah Becker
Ellen's Blog
Can the power of thought stop you ageing? Click here.
Video on Mindfulness and Leadership
Video on Ellen's Classic Research on the Psychology of Control

change in the men - just from a change in mindset

concept of mindfulness is a different order of variable, because
no matter what you're doing, 
you're doing it mindfully or not
no matter what you're doing, if you do it in a mindful manner, you reap the benefits

mindfulness is contagious

audio recording
if you are always mindful of what you are doing, 
you are never procrastinating
one problem people have is a lack of respect
the awareness of, at this moment, this is what i need
behavior always makes sense 
from the actors perspective,
so be aware of why, then you're ready to take yourself to the task, in a positive way

once one allows oneself to do what they want to do, then the task they need to do seems less odious
we have all sorts of limits for ourselves that are wired in

all the things you think you know you need to question
Ellen: I love being wrong

the absolutes we take as real, were only researched based at best
when we think we know something absolutely, 
there's no need to pay any attention to it
when you recognize everything is uncertain, 
you stay tuned in

Jenifer (Aniston - who's playing her in the movie) reaks authenticity and that's what Ellen values in herself

huge diff between curiosity and mindfulness,
curiosity can lead you to mindfulness, but if it leads to a solution, then mindfulness is gone

interest is a function of a degree to which you are willing to engage yourself, things don't have any inherent meaning, we make it meaningful

if you preface everything with, .. in my view...
if you're enjoying what you're doing, you're doing it openly and honestly, there's no reason to get defensive

no evidence that mindfulness takes more time than mindlessness

practice makes imperfect, because once you've practiced you think you've learned it and then you stop, so practice with the mindset of always being a learner

telling people to be in the present, is not resonating because everything thinks they are in the present
rather, tell people to notice things

when asked her future plans... she said, 5 yrs out is too far out, every moment determines the moment after