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Nostalgia Motivates Pursuit of Important Goals by Increasing Meaning in Life

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European Journal of Social Psychology

Published online on


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 in two cultures (British and Danish) independently of positive affect. This is first evidence that nostalgia has specific motivational consequences (i.e., pursuit of more, but not less, important goals) and transmits these consequences via meaning in life. Also, this is first evidence that meaning is associated with specific motivational consequences. Discussion considers the relevance of the findings for the emotion and motivation literatures.