Tim Wildschut

Tim Wildschut
University of Southampton · Centre for Research on Self and Identity

PhD, UNC at Chapel Hill

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156
Publications
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Publications (156)
Article
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Interest in nostalgia has blossomed, yet its nature in older adulthood and potential for intergenerational transfer to younger adults has remained neglected. In Experiment 1, we focused on the content of older adults’ nostalgic (vs. ordinary) recollections and asked whether older adults’ nostalgia could be transferred to younger adults. We showed t...
Article
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This research established collective nostalgia as a group-level emotion and ascertained the benefits it confers on the group. In Study 1, participants who reflected on a nostalgic event they had experienced together with ingroup members (collective nostalgia) evaluated the ingroup more positively and reported stronger intentions to approach (and no...
Article
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Individuals who are low (compared with high) in attachment-related avoidance rely on social bonds to regulate distress, and the authors hypothesized that nostalgia can be a repository of such social connectedness. Studies 1-3 showed a positive association between loneliness and nostalgia when attachment-related avoidance was low, but not when it wa...
Article
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Seven methodologically diverse studies addressed 3 fundamental questions about nostalgia. Studies 1 and 2 examined the content of nostalgic experiences. Descriptions of nostalgic experiences typically featured the self as a protagonist in interactions with close others (e.g., friends) or in momentous events (e.g., weddings). Also, the descriptions...
Article
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This quantitative review of 130 comparisons of interindividual and intergroup interactions in the context of mixed-motive situations reveals that intergroup interactions are generally more competitive than interindividual interactions. The authors identify 4 moderators of this interindividual-intergroup discontinuity effect, each based on the theor...
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Nostalgia, a sentimental longing for one's past, predicts or augments psychological wellbeing (PWB). We hypothesized that it does so—at least in part—via authenticity, a sense of alignment with one's true self. We obtained support for this hypothesis in four studies. Using a measurement-of-mediation design, across a Western (United States) and East...
Article
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Nostalgia, a bittersweet but predominantly positive emotion, arises from self-relevant and social memories. Evidence suggests that nostalgia is a potential source of happiness. Indeed, at the phenotypic level, this relation appears to be positive albeit tenuous. At the etiologic level, the relation is unknown. To fill this knowledge gap, we investi...
Article
We investigated the relation between nostalgia and spirituality. We hypothesized that nostalgia is linked to greater spirituality through self-continuity and, in turn, meaning in life. In Study 1, we measured nostalgia and spirituality. Nostalgia predicted greater spirituality. In Study 2, we tested this relation in a nationally representative samp...
Article
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Nostalgia arises from tender and yearnful reflection on meaningful life events or important persons from one’s past. In the last two decades, the literature has documented a variety of ways in which nostalgia benefits psychological well-being. Only a handful of studies, however, have addressed the neural basis of the emotion. In this prospective re...
Preprint
We propose criteria for assessing the cross-cultural universality of cognitive representations that underlie complex psychological constructs. According to prototype theory, complex constructs are cognitively represented in terms of central and peripheral features. The cross-cultural universality of a complex construct, then, pertains to the level...
Chapter
We propose criteria for assessing the cross-cultural universality of cognitive representations that underlie complex psychological constructs. According to prototype theory, complex constructs are cognitively represented in terms of central and peripheral features. The cross-cultural universality of a complex construct, then, pertains to the level...
Article
Full-text available
Nostalgia, a sentimental longing for one's past, has been garnering keen empirical attention in the psychological literature over the last two decades. After providing a historical overview, we place the emotion in cross-cultural context. Laypeople in many cultures conceptualize nostalgia similarly: as a past-oriented, social, self-relevant, and bi...
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The population of older adults worldwide is growing, with an urgent need for approaches that develop and maintain intrinsic capacity consistent with healthy aging. Theory and empirical research converge on feeling safe as central to healthy aging. However, there has been limited attention to resources that cultivate feeling safe to support healthy...
Article
Weight stigma, a negative attitude toward the overweight, can lead to discriminatory practices, as well as increase overweight individuals' vulnerability to depression, anxiety, and low self‐esteem. We propose that a nostalgia induction can attenuate weight stigma. Participants identified an overweight individual, before writing about an interperso...
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The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered and exacerbated psychological distress, and exposed psychological vulnerabilities, in large swathes of the population. Under challenging circumstances, nostalgia may convey tangible psychological and physical health benefits. We review recent evidence for nostalgia’s utility in vulnerable populations, including s...
Article
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Nostalgia is an emotion that confers psychological benefits. The literature has neglected romantic nostalgia—that is, nostalgia specifically for past experiences shared with one’s partner—and its potential advantages for relationships. We examined romantic nostalgia in one correlational study, two experiments, and one daily diary study (N = 638). R...
Article
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We provide a narrative review of the nascent literature on the psychological benefits of music-evoked nostalgia. Music is a prevalent and influential source of nostalgia. Music-evoked nostalgia confers approach-oriented psychological benefits in the social domain (by fostering social connectedness), self-oriented domain (by raising self-esteem, ins...
Article
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Objectives: Nostalgic memories are more social than other forms of autobiographical recall, often refer to atypical events, express more positive affect and reflect life as meaningful. Recalling a nostalgic (compared to ordinary) memory increases self-esteem, self-growth, meaning in life and social connectedness for people living with dementia. We...
Article
Lockdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic increased the risk for loneliness. We tested whether nostalgia counteracts loneliness via rises in happiness. We conducted surveys in China ( N = 1,546), the United States ( N = 1,572), and the United Kingdom ( N = 603). Although feeling lonely was associated with unhappiness, it was also associated with nosta...
Article
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Transgressions and injustice are an inevitable part of social life, both in interactions between individuals and between groups. But whereas conflict between individuals typically impacts only few, conflict between groups can be harmful to many – as is illustrated by disputes between nations, political parties, and social groups. For this reason, i...
Article
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An experiment examined the potency of nostalgia—a sentimental longing for one’s past—to facilitate detection of death-related stimuli, using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and behavioral techniques (i.e., judgmental accuracy, reaction times). We hypothesized and found that, at the neural level, nostalgic (relative to control) particip...
Article
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People exhibit impaired recall for highly self-threatening information that describes them, a phenomenon called the mnemic neglect effect (MNE). We hypothesized that the MNE extends to recall for information that highly threatens an individual’s important in-group identity. We tested our hypothesis in two experiments in which participants read beha...
Article
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Although dementia may affect the reliability of autobiographical memories, the psychological properties of nostalgic memories may be preserved. We compared the content of nostalgic (n = 36) and ordinary (n = 31) narratives of 67 participants living with dementia. Narratives were rated according to their self-oriented, social, and existential proper...
Article
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In five studies (N = 1,074), we examined the relation—both correlational and causal—between nostalgia, a sentimental longing for one’s past, and global self-continuity (GSC), a sense of connection among past, present, and future selves. Further, we addressed mechanisms underlying this relation. We asked, in particular, whether nostalgic individuals...
Article
Although dementia may affect the reliability of autobiographical memories, the psychological properties of nostalgic memories may be preserved. We compared the content of nostalgic (n = 36) and ordinary (n = 31) narratives of 67 participants living with dementia. Narratives were rated according to their self-oriented, social, and existential proper...
Article
Nostalgia is a sentimental longing for one’s past. We examined the effect of a 6-week, weekly nostalgia intervention on well-being (positive and negative affect, life satisfaction, subjective vitality, and eudaimonic well-being) over time. After three weeks, participants who engaged in nostalgic reflection had higher well-being than those who engag...
Article
We sought to clarify the psychological profile of experimentally induced nostalgia, compared to two other modes of thinking about one’s past—reflection and brooding—also experimentally induced. We tested both British and Chinese participants. Our main hypothesis was that nostalgia’s profile is more positive in terms of six psychological benefits an...
Article
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Collective nostalgia is a bittersweet emotion that reflects sentimental longing for valued aspects of the past of one’s group. Given that conservatism is typically associated with a general desire to preserve the societal status quo or return society to its traditional way of being, nostalgia has been theorized to be characteristic of those on the...
Article
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Does nostalgia for one’s time at university predict current intentions to engage with the university? In Study 1, United States participants’ nostalgia for their university experience (university nostalgia) at a southern public university predicted stronger intentions to socialize with fellow alumni, attend a future reunion, volunteer for their uni...
Article
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Nostalgia, a sentimental longing for one’s meaningful past, promotes global self-continuity (GSC), a sense of connection among one’s past, present, and future selves. We identified a cognitive mechanism for this effect: holistic thinking, and in particular interactional causality (presupposing multiple causes that interact to influence an object’s...
Article
Although it is known that collective narcissism is associated with problematic intergroup relations, its predictors are less well understood. Two studies, conducted in four European Union countries (Germany, Greece, Portugal, the United Kingdom [UK]), tested the hypotheses that integrated (i.e., realistic and symbolic) threat (Study 1, N = 936) as...
Article
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In two studies, we examined the association between nostalgia proneness (i.e., trait-level nostalgia) and importance of the collective self. In Study 1, we tested and supported the hypothesis that nostalgia proneness is positively correlated with relational collectivism, which entails an emphasis on one’s connections with close others and small soc...
Article
Nostalgia, a sentimental longing for one's past, can serve as a resource for individuals coping with discomforting experiences. The experience of bereavement poses psychological and physical risks. In a longitudinal study, we examined whether dispositional nostalgia predicted reductions in distress associated with the death of a loved one. Undergra...
Article
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Dementia represents a substantial threat to the self. However, to date, there is no reliable way to measure how threatened people feel by dementia. This article reports on two online studies. In Study 1, 248 participants rated statements about dementia according to their threat to well-being. In Study 2, 99 participants (all undergraduate students...
Article
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We conducted an integrative data analysis to examine the hedonic character of nostalgia. We combined positive and negative affect measures from 41 experiments manipulating nostalgia (N = 4,659). Overall, nostalgia inductions increased positive and ambivalent affect, but did not significantly alter negative affect. The magnitude of nostalgia’s effec...
Preprint
Full-text available
Transgressions and injustice are an inevitable part of social life, both in interactions between individuals and between groups. But whereas conflict between individuals typically impacts only few, conflict between groups can be harmful to many – as is illustrated by disputes between nations, political parties, and social groups. For this reason, i...
Article
Full-text available
Nostalgia, a sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past, conveys self-oriented, existential, and social benefits. We examined whether nostalgic engagement is less beneficial for individuals who are high in neuroticism (i.e., those who are emotionally unstable and prone to negative affect). Specifically, we tested whether the benefits of...
Article
Full-text available
Nostalgia is a bittersweet—albeit predominantly positive—self-relevant and social emotion that arises from reflecting on fond and meaningful autobiographical memories. Nostalgia might facilitate successful aging by serving as a socioemotional selectivity strategy in the face of limited time horizons. Four studies tested the role of nostalgia in mai...
Article
Individuals are often reluctant to seek help from others. Nostalgia is a highly social emotion that bolsters perceptions of connectedness with others. In six studies, we investigated whether nostalgia reduces individuals’ general reluctance to reach out to others for help by virtue of its capacity to strengthen social connectedness (i.e., a sense o...
Article
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Prior research, relying mostly on samples from the UK and the US, has indicated that nostalgia serves as a source of self-continuity (a sense that one’s past is interwoven with one’s present), and it does so by increasing social connectedness (a sense of belongingness and acceptance). The present research aimed to conceptually replicate and extend...
Article
Anticipated nostalgia is a new construct that has received limited empirical attention. It concerns the anticipation of having nostalgic feelings for one’s present and future experiences. In three studies, we assessed its prevalence, content, emotional profile, and implications for self-regulation and psychological functioning. Study 1 revealed tha...
Article
Objective: Nostalgia is a sentimental longing for one's past. We examined the hypotheses (rooted in attachment theory and research) that nostalgia prone individuals, by virtue of their greater attachment security, are more empathic and enact more prosocial behavior. Method: In five studies, testing 1923 participants (Nrange = 132-823, 52.42% wom...
Article
Nostalgia, a sentimental longing for the past, is an ambivalent—albeit more positive than negative—emotion. Nostalgia is infused with sociality, as it refers to important figures from one’s past or to momentous life events that include those figures. Dispositional nostalgia is related to prejudice reduction via increases in a form of sociality, emp...
Article
We proposed that nostalgic labels strengthen the appeal of food items when the items are intrinsically nostalgic (e.g., related to one's childhood). Nostalgic labels do so by fostering a sense of food comfort (i.e., safety and security) among potential consumers. Experiment 1, testing a Chinese sample, confirmed that nostalgic (vs. descriptive) lab...
Article
We examined the psychological functions of nostalgia (hanin in Arabic) among Syrian refugees residing in Saudi Arabia, who were forcefully displaced during the Syrian civil war. Forced displacement entails disruption, loss, and mourning, creating a salient contrast between one's past and present circumstances, which could attenuate the benefits of...
Article
We examined whether nostalgia increases intrinsic motivation in situations of low (vs. high) interactional justice, with downstream implications for work effort. In Study 1, we tested employees of various organizations using experience sampling methodology (ESM). High (vs. low) momentary nostalgia predicted stronger momentary intrinsic motivation,...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Studies with non-clinical populations show that nostalgia increases psychological resources, such as self-esteem and social connectedness. Objectives: Our objectives were to find out if the benefits of nostalgia in non-clinical populations generalize to people with dementia and if nostalgia facilitates recall of dementia-related info...
Article
Nostalgia increases meaning in life, but how so? In four experiments—using varied operationalizations of nostalgia, diverse populations, and complementary methodologies—we identified a serial process. We hypothesized and found, in Experiment 1, that self‐continuity boosts meaning in life. We hypothesized and found, in Experiment 2, that nostalgia i...
Article
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Four studies examined the link between adverse weather and the palliative role of nostalgia. We proposed and tested that: adverse weather evokes nostalgia (H1), adverse weather causes distress, which predicts elevated nostalgia (H2), preventing nostalgia exacerbates weather-induced distress (H3), and weather-evoked nostalgia confers psychological b...
Article
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We aimed to (1) identify the cognitive appraisals underlying nostalgia, and (2) compare nostalgia with other emotions in terms of its appraisal profile. In Study 1, participants (N = 1,125) generated narratives. Next, they reported the level of nostalgia and 31 other emotions that these narratives elicited. Subsequently, participants evaluated the...
Article
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Objective We tested whether people with dementia manifest selective forgetting for self‐threatening information, the mnemic neglect effect (MNE). This selective forgetting is observed among healthy adults in the recall, but not the recognition, of self‐threatening feedback. Methods Sixty‐four statements about dementia were rated for their level of...
Article
How are nostalgic memories created? We considered savouring as one process involved in the genesis of nostalgia. Whereas nostalgia refers to an emotional reflection upon past experiences, savouring is a process in which individuals deeply attend to and consciously capture a present experience for subsequent reflection. Thus, having savoured an expe...
Article
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Repatriation (returning home after having lived abroad) can be psychologically distressing. We theorized and found evidence that feeling nostalgic about a host culture contributes to repatriation success. We tested a sample of over 700 international teachers who worked in the United States (host culture) and then returned to their home countries. A...
Article
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Most people in need of behavior change do not take action. Moreover, it has proven difficult to motivate people to engage in behavior change. In two longitudinal experiments, among people living with addiction, we tested a heretofore unexamined route to motivating behavior change— heightening a person’s sense that their addictive behavior has funda...
Article
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Nostalgia, a sentimental longing for the past, is a self-relevant and social emotion. Nostalgia proneness is associated with alleviation of distress or instability (e.g., neuroticism). Although nostalgia proneness is heritable, the specific molecular contributors to this heritability are unknown. We focused on a polymorphism in the promoter of the...
Chapter
p>Nostalgia is “a sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past” (Pearsall, 1998, p. 1266). This dictionary definition aligns well with lay conceptions (i.e., prototype analysis; cf. Rosch, 1978). Laypeople (Hepper, Ritchie, Sedikides, & Wildschut, 2012) across 18 cultures (Hepper et al., 2014) think of the construct “nostalgia” as encompas...
Article
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How is nostalgia positioned among self-relevant emotions? We tested, in six studies, which self-relevant emotions are perceived as most similar versus least similar to nostalgia, and what underlies these similarities/differences. We used multidimensional scaling to chart the perceived similarities/differences among self-relevant emotions, resulting...
Article
We compared and contrasted nostalgia with rumination and counterfactual thinking in terms of their autobiographical memory functions. Specifically, we assessed individual differences in nostalgia, rumination, and counterfactual thinking, which we then linked to self-reported functions or uses of autobiographical memory (Self-Regard, Boredom Reducti...
Article
Nostalgia—defined as sentimental longing for one’s past—is a self-relevant, albeit deeply social, and an ambivalent, albeit more positive than negative, emotion. As nostalgia brings the past into present focus, it has existential implications. Nostalgia helps people find meaning in their lives, and it does so primarily by increasing social connecte...
Article
This research focused on existential and motivational implications of the emotion of nostalgia. Nostalgia (relative to control) increased meaning in life, which, in turn, galvanised intentions to pursue one’s most important goal (Experiment 1) and to pursue one’s most important, but not least important, goal (Experiment 2). The basic pattern held i...
Article
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Research on interindividual-intergroup discontinuity has illuminated distinct patterns of cognition, motivation, and behavior in interindividual versus intergroup contexts. However, it has examined these processes in laboratory environments with perfect transparency, whereas real-life interactions are often characterized by noise (i.e., mispercepti...
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Abstract Aim Shame and pride have important implications in educational contexts for pupils and educators alike. The aim of this study was to investigate whether adolescents’ growth (intelligence) mindset is associated with reduced shame experiences and increased pride experiences, within a secondary school context. We tested perceived academic c...