Ellen Langer’s Harvard 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. In the area of health, members of the lab are examining new ways of understanding and ameliorating problems people have with a variety of conditions. In business, we are conducting research into mindful leadership, mindful contagion (i.e the effect of one person’s mindfulness on another), and mindful decision-making. Included in mindful decision-making is work that compares the effects of single versus multiple goals and work that considers ways to reduce the time it takes to become psychologically prepared to engage in a new task. In education, we are examining areas such as mindful reading and mindful learning. As our lab discussions make clear, each project informs the others.
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. The Langer Mindfulness Scale is available for research purposes by request.