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Defining Nostalgia and Its Functions: A Review
University of Skövde, School of Humanities and Informatics.
2011 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Nostalgia is a psychological phenomenon we all can relate to but have a hard time to define. What characterizes the mental state of feeling nostalgia? What psychological function does it serve? Different published materials in a wide range of fields, from consumption research and sport science to clinical psychology, psychoanalysis and sociology, all have slightly different definition of this mental experience. Some claim it is a psychiatric disease giving melancholic emotions to a memory you would consider a happy one, while others state it enforces positivity in our mood. First in this paper a thorough review of the history of nostalgia is presented, then a look at the body of contemporary nostalgia research to see what it could be constituted of. Finally, we want to dig even deeper to see what is suggested by the literature in terms of triggers and functions. Some say that digitally recorded material like music and videos has a potential nostalgic component, which could trigger a reflection of the past in ways that was difficult before such inventions. Hinting towards that nostalgia as a cultural phenomenon is on a rising scene. Some authors say that odors have the strongest impact on nostalgic reverie due to activating it without too much cognitive appraisal. Cognitive neuropsychology has shed new light on a lot of human psychological phenomena‘s and even though empirical testing have been scarce in this field, it should get a fair scrutiny within this perspective as well and hopefully helping to clarify the definition of the word to ease future investigations, both scientifically speaking and in laymen‘s retro hysteria.Keywords:

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. , 44 p.
Keyword [en]
Homesickness, Melancholia, Depression, Emotional memory, Olfactory, Positive emotions, Triggers
URN: urn:nbn:se:his:diva-5230OAI: diva2:431783
Subject / course
Cognitive Neuroscience
Educational program
Consciousness Studies - Philosophy and Neuropsychology
Life Earth Science
Available from: 2011-08-18 Created: 2011-07-25 Last updated: 2011-08-18Bibliographically approved

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