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London, Dec 4 (IANS) The winter is already here with shorter days and chillier nights but there is an universal antidote within reach of all — nostalgia, which offers comforting warmth during the season.
Research from the University of Southampton, based on volunteers drawn from universities in China and the Netherlands, investigated the effects of nostalgia on reaction to cold and the perception of warmth.
Tim Wildschut, study co-author and senior lecturer at Southampton, observes: "Nostalgia is experienced frequently and virtually by everyone and we know that it can maintain psychological comfort," the journal Emotion reports.
"For example, nostalgic reverie can combat loneliness. We wanted to take that a step further and assess whether it can also maintain physiological comfort," adds Wildschut, according to a Southampton statement.
The first asked participants to keep an account of their nostalgic feelings over 30 days. Results showed they felt more nostalgic on colder days.
The second study put participants in one of three rooms: cold, comfortable and hot and then measured how nostalgic they felt.
Participants felt more nostalgic in the cold room than in the comfortable and hot rooms. Those in the comfortable and hot rooms did not differ.
The third study, which was conducted online, used music to evoke nostalgia to see if it was linked to warmth. The participants who said the music made them feel nostalgic also tended to say that the music made them feel physically warmer.
The fourth study tested the effect of nostalgia on physical warmth by placing participants in a cold room and instructing them to recall either a nostalgic or ordinary event from their past. They were then asked to guess the temperature of the room. Those who recalled a nostalgic event perceived the room they were in to be warmer.
Study five again instructed participants to recall either a nostalgic or ordinary event from their past. They then placed their hand in ice-cold water to see how long they could stand it. Findings showed that the volunteers who indulged in nostalgia held their hand in the water far longer.