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Tags: nostalgia | warm | feelings

Fond Memories Make us Feel Warmer: Study

Friday, 04 January 2013 09:52 AM EST

In a research finding that gives new meaning to the phrase “heart-warming memories,” British scientists have determined feelings of nostalgia can actually make you feel warmer.
The findings, by University of Southampton researchers, are the latest to demonstrate the connection between the mind and body — and to show that how we feel mentally can influence how we feel physically.
For the study, published in the journal Emotion, researchers conducted a series of five tests involving a group of volunteers from China and the Netherlands on the effects of nostalgic feelings on their reaction to cold and the perception of warmth.
The first asked participants to track their nostalgic feelings over 30 days, and found they felt more nostalgic on colder days.
The second test 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.
The third experiment 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.
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The fourth tested the effect of nostalgia on physical warmth by placing participants in a cold room and asking them to recall either a nostalgic or ordinary event. They were then asked to guess the temperature of the room. Those who recalled a nostalgic event perceived the room as warmer.
For the fifth experiment, researchers asked 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 tolerate it. The volunteers who had recalled a nostalgic event 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,” said researcher Tim Wildschut, M.D., senior lecturer at the University of Southampton. “We wanted to take that a step further and assess whether it can also maintain physiological comfort.
"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."

© HealthDay

British scientists have determined feelings of nostalgia can actually make you feel warmer.
Friday, 04 January 2013 09:52 AM
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