Nostalgia is a topic that most lay people are familiar with, but, until recently, few social scientists understood. Once viewed as a disease, nostalgia is now considered to be an important psychological resource. It involves revisiting personally cherished memories that involve close others. When people engage in nostalgia, they experience a boost in positive psychological states such as positive mood, feelings of social connectedness, self-esteem, self-continuity, and perceptions of meaning in life. Since nostalgia promotes these positive states, when people experience negative states (such as loneliness or meaninglessness), they use nostalgia to regulate distress.

This book explains in detail what nostalgia is, how views of it have changed over time, and how it has been studied by social scientists. It explores issues like how common nostalgia is and whether people differ in their tendency to be nostalgic. It looks at the triggers and inspiration for nostalgia, and the emotional states that are associated with it. Finally, the psychological, social, and behavioral effects of engaging in nostalgia are discussed.

This volume provides the most comprehensive overview to date of the social scientific research into the complex and intriguing phenomenon of nostalgia. It will be of interest to a range of students and researchers in psychology and beyond, and its accessible writing style and engaging anecdotes will also be appreciated by a wider, non-academic audience.

chapter |2 pages


chapter 1|5 pages

From the Past to the Present

A History of Nostalgia

chapter 2|17 pages

How We Perceive and Experience Nostalgia

chapter 3|18 pages

What Makes People Nostalgic?

chapter 4|8 pages

The Affective Consequences of Nostalgia

chapter 5|18 pages

The Social Functions of Nostalgia

chapter 6|15 pages

The Self-Related Functions of Nostalgia

chapter 7|16 pages

The Existential Functions of Nostalgia

chapter 8|16 pages

Individual Differences and Nostalgia

chapter 9|11 pages

The Future of the Past

Emerging Research on Nostalgia