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

Hepper, Erica G., Ritchie, Timothy D., Sedikides, Constantine and Wildschut, Tim (2011) Odyssey’s end: Lay conceptions of nostalgia reflect its original Homeric meaning Emotion, 12, (1), pp. 102-119. (doi:10.1037/a0025167).


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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.

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1037/a0025167
ISSNs: 1528-3542 (print)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
ePrint ID: 192557
Date :
Date Event
February 2011Accepted/In Press
February 2012Published
Date Deposited: 05 Jul 2011 15:30
Last Modified: 18 Apr 2017 01:49
Further Information:Google Scholar
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/192557

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