A meta-analysis on the psychological and behavioral consequences of nostalgia: The moderating roles of nostalgia activators, culture, and individual characteristics

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Abstract

While previous research suggests that nostalgia can stimulate future-oriented motivation and goal pursuit, the presence of conflicting findings complicate our understanding of the psychological and behavioral consequences of nostalgia. This study introduces and empirically validates a theoretical framework for nostalgia through a meta-analysis of 90 effect sizes and 9757 aggregate samples from 22 experimental studies. Our findings enrich understanding of the effects of nostalgia, showing that compared to a control, nostalgia enhances consumers' sense of pleasantness, self-continuity, attitudes, and behavioral intentions. We also identify several moderators that shape the effects of nostalgia, namely nostalgia activators, culture, and individual characteristics. Intriguingly, stronger behavioral intentions manifest in response to nostalgic events (rather than objects), realistic (over nonrealistic) scenarios, visual (as opposed to textual) priming, and female-majority (vs. male-majority) samples. However, we observe that long-term (vs. short-term) oriented cultures exhibit diminished nostalgia effects. Furthermore, we find no significant variations in responses based on age (older vs. younger), type of nostalgic experience (personal vs. collective), and sample type (students vs. nonstudents). Collectively, our meta-analysis reveals the intricate dynamics of nostalgia, emphasizing its profound impact on consumer behavior as shaped by moderators such as nostalgia activators, culture, and individual characteristics, thereby providing a multifaceted and nuanced understanding of nostalgia.

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Santini, F. de O., Lim, W. M., Ladeira, W. J., Costa Pinto, D., Herter, M. M., & Rasul, T. (2023). A meta-analysis on the psychological and behavioral consequences of nostalgia: The moderating roles of nostalgia activators, culture, and individual characteristics. Psychology and Marketing, 40(10), 1899–1912. https://doi.org/10.1002/mar.21872

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