This month we have a special treat for all our listeners. We invited Dr. Ellen Langer to our podcast. Ellen is a Harvard psychologist that spent her career studying persuasion. This month we discuss her thoughts on why persuasion works so well on people. Release Date 8 Mar 2010


You can download it direct:
Using Persuasion on the Mindless Masses 007

View on iTunes

Get Involved

Got a great idea for an upcoming podcast? Send us a quick message on the contact form!

Enjoy the Outtro Music? Thanks to Clutch for allowing us to use Emily Dickinson as our new SEPodcast Theme Music

And check out a schedule for all our training at Social-Engineer, LLC.

Check out the Innocent Lives Foundation to help unmask online child predators.

Show Notes

Dr. Ellen Langer is a professor in the Psychology Department at Harvard University. Her books written for general and academic readers include Mindfulness and The Power of Mindful Learning, Unbecoming an Artist – Reinventing Yourself Through Mindful Creativity, and Counterclockwise Mindful Health and The Power of Possibility.

Dr. Langer has described her work on the illusion of control, aging, decision-making, and mindfulness theory in over 200 research articles and six academic books. Her work has led to numerous academic honors including a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Award for Distinguished Contributions to Psychology in the Public Interest of the American Psychological Association, the Distinguished Contributions of Basic Science to Applied Psychology award from the American Association of Applied & Preventive Psychology, the James McKeen Cattel Award, and the Gordon Allport Intergroup Relations Prize.

We wanted to talk to Ellen because it is interesting for us to have a psychologist on our podcast. As social engineers we look at behavioral effects and as a psychologist she looks at behavioral causes. Ellen gave us the answers we were looking for.

Discussing her research helped us to see how persuasion is used and how mindlessness effects our daily lives.
Other questions we asked were:

  • If you were on a pentest with us – how would u use persuasion to get a password?
  • What are the “scripts” that people use in day to day life?
  • How can you make sure that you don’t fall into a script?
  • How can you get someone else off script?
  • Can you tell when someone is in a script?
  • We also asked her what books she would recommend reading on this topic.


Listen as she completely pwns logan with a simple math problem too.

For some excellent links to some great interviews visit these links:
To Give and Receive

A great interview with Ellen in the NY Times

A nice MindHack Article on Ellen
Ellen’s Bio

Dr. Langer recommended a book: Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion Revised Edition by Robert Cialdini

You will really enjoy this one.



Of Course, we can’t thank Offensive Security enough for all of their help in making this happen.

This episode is sponsored by Spy Associates.

Plugs and What’s New

We started a nice archive of our newsletters and we will be adding to it with articles we have printed by other sources. Sign up to get it early via email by going to our Newsletter page for more info, or check out the archives at that page. Our last newsletter has gotten rave reviews along with the special SE Report too.

We reviewed some amazing devices this month with much more to come. Take a look at the two devices we reviewed:
Spy Matrix PRO SWEEP Bug Detector, Wire Tap & GPS Detector Sweep Kit
Professional LE DVR and Button Cam
These two devices are amazing and we had a TON of fun with them. These devices proved worthy for a social engineer.