Ellen Langer

Lab photo

Research ·


Our lab’s current research continues to explore, extend, and refine mindfulness theory across several domains. Most of the work in progress is concerned with the interaction of mindfulness and health, business, and education.

Many of our studies are testing the mind/body unity theory first proposed in 1979. The original mind/body unity test was the counterclockwise study that suggested that we may have far more control over our health than previously realized. We have conceptually replicated it with respect to weight loss, vision, diabetes, and colds. It is soon to be tested with women with stage four breast cancer.

Health studies we have recently conducted are aimed at improving disease outcomes by attention to symptom variability. Arthritis, chronic pain, als, tbi, prostate cancer, and ms have been shown to be amenable to this treatment. Studies with other disorders are now underway.

Other ongoing projects include using mindfulness to reduce bullying, increase innovation, improve learning and memory, and decrease stereotyping.

The Langer Mindfulness Scale

The Langer Mindfulness Scale is a 21-item questionnaire intended for use as a training, self-discovery, and research instrument. It assesses four domains associated with mindful thinking: novelty-seeking, engagement, novelty producing, and flexibility. An individual who seeks novelty perceives each situation as an opportunity to learn something new. An individual who scores high in engagement is likely to notice more details about his or her specific relationship with the environment. A novelty producing person generates new information in order to learn more about the current situation. Flexible people welcome a changing environment rather than resist it.