Researchers have found that the nostalgic feelings could help us in keeping us warm.
This research has been published online in the journal Emotion.
Nostalgia refers to the sentimental feelings for the past usually for a period or place with cheerful links. It “is a predominantly positive and social emotion”.
Researchers in the first study asked participants to keep on their nostalgic feelings for the next 30 days. They reported more nostalgia during colder days.
Researchers in the second study put participants in three rooms with cold (20˚C), comfortable (24˚C) and hot (28˚C) temperatures and found that the participants in the cold room were more nostalgic as compared to the people in the comfortable and hot rooms, who were not different from each other. This shows natural selection of body to keep it balanced.
Researches in the third online study asked participants to use music to evoke nostalgic feelings and to check whether this gives them warmth or not. Participants reported that the music that evokes nostalgic feelings also increased warmth.
In the fourth study, participants were placed in the cold rooms and told to remind something from the past or specifically nostalgic feelings. They were then asked to guess the room temperature. Nostalgic people reported the room to be warmer than the people, who were asked to remind an ordinary past event.
In the fifth study, researchers asked participants to put their hands in the ice-cold water while reminding past events. They found that the participants who were nostalgic were able to hold their hands in the water for longer.
“Nostalgia is experienced frequently and virtually by everyone and we know that it can maintain psychological comfort. For example, nostalgic reverie can combat loneliness. We wanted to take that a step further and assess whether it can also maintain physiological comfort.” Dr Tim Wildschut, senior lecturer at the University of Southampton and co-author of the study, said in a statement.
“Our study has shown that nostalgia serves a homeostatic function, allowing the mental simulation of previously enjoyed states, including states of bodily comfort; in this case making us feel warmer or increasing our tolerance of cold. More research is now needed to see if nostalgia can combat other forms of physical discomfort, besides low temperature.”
In a different recent research, scientists used thermography to check the body temperatures during different emotional and physical states. We can also use this technique to check and further confirm the positive relation of nostalgia and warmth of the body.
Zhou, X., Wildschut, T., Sedikides, C., Chen, X., & Vingerhoets, A. (2012). “Heartwarming memories: Nostalgia maintains physiological comfort”: Correction to Zhou et al. (2012). Emotion, 12 (4), 700-700 DOI: said in a statement