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Title: Shedding new light on nostalgia : the origins, consequences and buffering capacity of nostalgia
Author: Biskas, Marios
ISNI:       0000 0004 7972 1598
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2019
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Nostalgia, a sentimental longing for the past, has several psychological effects. For example, it increases self-continuity, meaning in life, and optimism. Nostalgia also buffers the adverse impact of psychological threats, such as death thoughts or the potential meaninglessness of life. In this thesis, I have expanded upon this existing nostalgia research in three keys ways. In my first empirical paper, I conducted three studies to investigate the, previously undocumented, link between nostalgia and spirituality. In Study 1, nostalgia was related to greater spirituality. In Study 2, nostalgia was again related to greater spirituality, and this relation remained significant after controlling for key demographics and core personality traits. In Study 3, nostalgia fostered spirituality via selfcontinuity and meaning in life serially. Taken together, nostalgia is associated with, and fosters, spirituality through its effect on self-continuity and meaning in life. In my second empirical paper, I investigated an additional psychological threat against which nostalgia may buffer: life uncertainty. Specifically, I examined whether nostalgia buffers the negative effect of life uncertainty on self-continuity. The findings revealed that life uncertainty reduced self-continuity, but only for participants low in nostalgia proneness, not those high in nostalgia proneness. Furthermore, life uncertainty reduced selfcontinuity, but only for those who recalled a recent autobiographical event, not those who recalled a nostalgic event. Thus, nostalgia buffers the negative effect of self-continuity on life uncertainty. In my third empirical paper, I investigated the origins of nostalgic memories in three studies. In particular, I examined whether savouring is implicated in the formation of nostalgic memories. I also examined whether nostalgia for a previously savoured experience predicts optimism for the future. In Study 1, retrospective reports of having savoured a specific event were associated with greater nostalgia for it. In Study 2, retrospective reports of savouring a time period were associated with greater nostalgia for that time period. In Study 3, savouring an experience predicted nostalgia for it 4-9 months later. Lastly, in Studies 2-3, nostalgia for a savoured experience was associated with greater optimism. In all, savouring provides a foundation for nostalgic memories and an ensuing optimism.
Supervisor: Juhl, Jacob ; Wildschut, Robert Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available