Enhanced Personal Responsibility and its Impact on Health

In 1976, Ellen Langer (Graduate Center, City University of New York) and Judith Rodin (Yale University) conducted a study into the enhanced personal responsibility for the aged and its impact on health,  and found that curiosity and having control over the environment plays an important factor in staying healthy and living a longer live.

pOOr.... buT hAppY...The study was conducted by separating a group of elderly in a nursery into two groups. First group was cared for passively; the second group was encouraged to make decisions about where they would meet guest, what activities to do, take care of plants. After eighteen months,  there were 30% of deaths in the first group and 15% in the second group. The results also showed that the second group not only improved their psychological, physical health, longevity but were happier and more vigorous.

“Wherever you put the mind, the body will follow” – Anonymous

A factor in the aging is due to the mistaken assumption internalized in childhood that when people get old they become incompetent and cannot do things for themselves. This assumption becomes self fulfilling, and we lose the stimulation to develop mentally. This subsequent lack of stimulation produces mental deterioration and non creativity which minimizes use of life energy and initiates depression. Therefore for a longer and happier life continual mental stimulation is vital so get busy living or get busy dying.


Langer, E.J. & Rodin. J. “The Effects of Choice and Enhanced. Personal Responsibility for the Aged: A. Field Experiment in an Institutional Setting. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology Vol. 34, No. 2, 191-198.

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