Dr. Ellen Langer, Professor of Psychology at Harvard University, has written extensively on the illusion of control, decision-making, aging and "mindfulness" in over 200 research articles and several books.
She is best known for her concept of "mindlessness" -the idea that much of what we believe to be rational thought is in fact just our brains on autopilot- and her concept of "mindfulness", the idea that simply paying attention to our everyday lives can make us happier and healthier.
Her work has led to numerous academic honors including a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Distinguished Contributions of Basic Science to Applied Psychology Award of the American Association of Applied and Preventive Psychology, the Distinguished Contributions to Psychology in the Public Interest Award of the American Psychological Association, the James McKeen Cattel Award, and the Gordon Allport Intergroup Relations Prize.
The citation for the American Psychological Association's Distinguished Contributions 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; Dr. Langer has demonstrated repeatedly how our limits are of our own making."
Ellen Langer is a fellow of The Sloan Foundation, The American Psychological Association, The American Psychological Society, The American Association for the Advancement of Science, The Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues, and The Society of Experimental Social Psychologists. She was Harvard's first tenured woman Professor of Psychology, and her discoveries helped trigger, among other things, the burgeoning positive-psychology movement.
Ellen Langer has succeeded in writing a book that, in one bite, manages to be scientifically interesting, immensely practical, and dramatically absorbing. It is about the mindsets that lead human beings -even the smartest of them- to become stupid and "mindless". In a series of fascinating research studies, Dr. Langer demonstrates that the young can be made more creative, the man in charge made more effective, and the elderly kept from giving in to and dying of their age.
The Power of Mindful Learning
In business, sports, laboratories, or at home, our learning is hobbled by certain antiquated and pervasive misconceptions. In this pithy, liberating, and delightful presentation, she gives us a fresh, new view of learning in the broadest sense. Such familiar notions as delayed gratification, "the basics", or even "right answers", are all incapacitating myths which Dr. Langer explodes one by one.
With stunning applications to skills as diverse as paying attention, CPR, investment analysis, psychotherapy, or playing a musical instrument, The Power of Mindful Learning is for all who are curious and intellectually adventurous.
If we could turn back the clock psychologically, could we also turn it back physically? For more than thirty years, award-winning social psychologist Ellen Langer has studied this provocative question, and now has a conclusive answer: opening our minds to what's possible, instead of clinging to accepted notions about what's not, can lead to better health at any age.
Drawing on her own body of colorful experiments -including the first detailed discussion of her landmark 1979 "counterclockwise" study, in which elderly men lived for a week as though it was 1959 and seemed to grow younger- and important works by other researchers, Dr. Langer proves that the magic lies in being aware of the ways we mindlessly react to cultural cues.