Feelings of nostalgia insulate us from our fear of death

Feelings of nostalgia insulate us from our fear of death; study info below.

That means that if we’re feeling nostalgic while, say, ghost hunting, it can help us stay grounded.

See also: mortality salience hypothesis nostalgia and the fear of death blog post terror management theory (TMT)

from this article Jacob Juhl, Clay Routledge, Jamie Arndt, Constantine Sedikides, Tim Wildschut, Fighting the future with the past: Nostalgia buffers existential threat, Journal of Research in Personality, Volume 44, Issue 3, 2010, Pages 309-314, ISSN 0092-6566, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jrp.2010.02.006. (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0092656610000310)

 researchers measured trait nostalgia (frequency and importance of nostalgia), induced existential threat via MS, and then assessed the extent to which participants had a sense of meaning in life. Whereas thinking about death resulted in a lower sense of meaning, this effect was not found among participants who were highly nostalgic. Two additional studies assessed the extent to which inducing nostalgia resulted in lower levels of death-thought accessibility after MS. Consistent with research showing that engagement of terror management structures reduces heightened accessibility of death-related thought following death reminders (Arndt, Cook, & Routledge, 2004), Routledge, Arndt, Sedikides, and Wildschut (2008) showed that the effect of MS on elevated death-thought accessibility was lower among nostalgia-prone participants (Study 2) and among participants subjected to an experimental induction of nostalgia (Study 3). In sum, after MS, nostalgia kept levels of death-thought accessibility low and perceptions of meaning high.


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