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Research project: Nostalgia Provides Existential Comfort

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Meaning in life helps manage existential concerns (e.g., awareness of death) and thus helps maintain psychological well-being. The current line of research shows that nostalgia, a sentimental longing for the past, provides a sense of meaning in life and existential comfort. To begin, we have shown that people become nostalgic as in order to manage existential threats (e.g., meaning threats, heightened death awareness).

In separate studies, we have further shown that experimentally induced nostalgia, in turn, increases perceptions of meaning in life. Moreover, nostalgia reduces defensiveness in response to meaning threats and increased death awareness, and it disrupts the link between low levels of meaning and poor psychological well-being.

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Related research groups

Centre for Research on Self and Identity (CRSI)

Key Publications

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