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Odyssey’s end: Lay conceptions of nostalgia reflect its original Homeric meaning

Record type: Article

Nostalgia fulfills pivotal functions for individuals, but lacks an empirically-derived and comprehensive definition. We examined lay conceptions of nostalgia using a prototype approach. In Study 1, participants generated open-ended features of nostalgia, which were coded into categories. In Study 2, participants rated the centrality of these categories, which were subsequently classified as central (e.g., memories, relationships, happiness) or peripheral (e.g., daydreaming, regret, loneliness). Central (compared to peripheral) features were more often recalled and falsely recognized (Study 3), were classified more quickly (Study 4), were judged to reflect more nostalgia in a vignette (Study 5), better characterized participants’ own nostalgic (vs. ordinary) experiences (Study 6), and prompted higher levels of actual nostalgia and its intrapersonal benefits when used to trigger a personal memory, regardless of age (Study 7). These findings highlight that lay people view nostalgia as a self-relevant and social blended emotional and cognitive state, featuring a mixture of happiness and loss. The findings also aid understanding of nostalgia’s functions and identify new methods for future research.

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Citation

Hepper, Erica G., Ritchie, Timothy D., Sedikides, Constantine and Wildschut, Tim (2012) Odyssey’s end: Lay conceptions of nostalgia reflect its original Homeric meaning Emotion, 12, (1), pp. 102-119. (doi:10.1037/a0025167).

More information

Accepted/In Press date: February 2011
Published date: February 2012

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 192557
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/192557
ISSN: 1528-3542
PURE UUID: d4ee3ff2-5a9e-4d67-af8e-88ded7e85112

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Date deposited: 05 Jul 2011 15:30
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 11:31

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Contributors

Author: Erica G. Hepper
Author: Timothy D. Ritchie
Author: Tim Wildschut

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