Langer and Rodin

HideShow resource information

L&R Aims and Context

  • Adle 1930 and de charms 1968 - claim that an individuals need to control ones environment is a necessity.
  • Bettleheim’s (1943) description of the ‘Muselmanner’, the walking corpses in the concentration camps notes that many of these prisoners- believed what they were told.
  • Stotland and Blumethal found that anxiety rose when participants were not given choices.
  • Ferrare found that of 17 patients placed in a nursing home 8 of them died during the first four weeks and another eight by 10 weeks. The sense of control over life can have a servre effect on preserving life.
  • L&R aimed to investigate if personal responsibility has beneficial effects. Affecting physical and mental alertness, activity, sociability and general satisifaction.
1 of 6

L&R Procedure

  • The study was a field experiment conducted in a nursing homein Connecticut.
  • Resisdents of the 2 of the 4 floors included in the study, they were similar in terms of their physical and psychological health. They were of similar socioeconomic backgroud and had stayed over a similar period of time.
  • One floor was randomly assigned the experimental condition (had responibility) the other was the control condition (no responsibilty)
  • 8 males and 39 females in the responsibility condition and 9 males and 35 females in comparrison condition.
  • 2 questionnaires were used. The 1st was given by a research assistant and included how happy and active they felt on a 8point likert scale.
  • one week later, an administrator, a 33 year old male annouced the 2 groups (responsibility and comparison). responsibility grp told to treat like their own home.
  • given a plant- responsibilty group told too look after it. no responsibility group told it would be looked after for them.
  • movie night- R could choose but NR had to watch what was on.
  • The second questionnaire rated the 2 groups happiness, alertness and sociability etc.
2 of 6

L&R Findings and Conclusions

  • Before the study, both groups were similar.
  • after the experiment, the R group were happier (48% compared to 25%), more active, visited other patients regulary and also rated as being more alert.
  • An increase of 6.78 was seen in the experimental group and reduction of 3.3 in control group between the two questionnaires.
  • Those with responsibility had an average score of 3.97 and those with NR had an average score of 2.37.
  • 30% of the comparison group had died compared to the responsibility group.
  • Attendence at movie night was a higher for those with responsibility.
  • more Ps attended jellybean guessing competition from the R group.
  • conclusion is that negative conserquences of old age may be reduced if Ps have the right to make their own decisions.
3 of 6

L&R Evaluation


  • took care to avoid demand characteristics. Employed two floors so no ps were aware of each other. Also the double blind method was used. Behaviour was natural.
  • IV and DV clearly measureable. IV= responsibility level DV= levels of happiness this is god as cause and effect can be seen.
  • no ones health was actually affected but actually improved for those given control. because these with no responsibility wouldn't have got any responsibility anyway.


  • Can't  eliminate all extraneous variables. Anything other than the I.V. that has an effect on the outcome of the study. We can argue that those expressing satisfaction might have been naturally happier than the no responsibility group anyway so the findings weren't because of being given resposibility.
  • sample limited so issues of reliability and validity. Only two groups of elderly, one nursing home, two floors, U.S. not generaliseable and findings may of been cause of other factors.
  • Did cause stress in some ps- no responsibility, responsibility was taken away at the end. Deception as double blind. No consent= no RTW.
4 of 6

L&R Evaluation

M+ has high ecological validity as it took place in a real nursing home with real patients who couldn't display DC.                                                                                                                                            + IV and DV & cause and effect clearly measureable.                                                                          - More chance of extraneous variables, can have ethical problems of deception, consent & RTW.

R+supports previous research of ferrare who found life expectancy reduced if patients were placed in a nursing home hence no choice/responsibility.                                                                                - as it was a restricted sample it may not be generalisable.

V + The study found what it wanted to... no responsibility= dissatisfaction.                                          - there could have been a high level of ext variables that could have led to the outcomes of the study.

5 of 6

L&R Alternative Research

  • Stotland & Blumenthal (1964) studied the effects of choice on anxiety reduction. They told participants that they were going to take a number of important ability tests. Half the participants were able to choose the order in which they took the tests; the other half were told the test order was fixed. They found that those participants not given a choice were more anxious than those given a choice. L&R adds to both reliability and validity. However in the S&B study extraneous variables were less likely to have an effect so we can be more certain that no choice impacts on anxiety.
  • Ferrare-  Ferrare (1962) investigated the effects of the ability of geriatric patients to control their place of residence and found that of 17 individuals, who did not have any alternative than to move to a specific old age home, 8 had died by the end of 4 weeks residence and 16 had died by the end of 10 weeks residence. Adds to reliability and validity. L&R field experiment had more control. Ethically they both emply deception, no consent, no RTW. L&R caused S&D.
  • Savell- Exposed 43 institutionalised older adults to differental opportunities but no significant differences were found which shows well-being is a result of other factors not control. This doesn't add to reliability but shows validity as its more recent. Ethically they both employed deception however savell gave them a choice rather than them being forced.
6 of 6


No comments have yet been made

Similar Psychology resources:

See all Psychology resources »See all Core studies resources »