Autobiographical Memory Functions of Nostalgia in Comparison to Rumination and Counterfactual Thinking: Similarity and Uniqueness

Wing Yee Cheung, Tim Wildschut, Constantine Sedikides

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Abstract

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 Reduction, Death Preparation, Intimacy Maintenance, Conversation, Teach/Inform, Bitterness Revival). We tested which memory functions are shared and which are uniquely linked to nostalgia. The commonality among nostalgia, rumination, and counterfactual thinking resides in their shared positive associations with all memory functions: individuals who evinced a stronger propensity toward past-oriented thought (as manifested in nostalgia, rumination, and counterfactual thinking) reported greater overall recruitment of memories in the service of present functioning. The uniqueness of nostalgia resides in its comparatively strong positive associations with Intimacy Maintenance, Teach/Inform, and Self-Regard and weak association with Bitterness Revival. In all, nostalgia possesses a more positive functional signature than do rumination and counterfactual thinking.
Original languageEnglish
JournalMemory
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2017

Keywords

  • Autobiographical memory
  • Memory functions
  • Counterfactual thinking
  • Rumination
  • Nostalgia

Cite this

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title = "Autobiographical Memory Functions of Nostalgia in Comparison to Rumination and Counterfactual Thinking: Similarity and Uniqueness",
abstract = "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 Reduction, Death Preparation, Intimacy Maintenance, Conversation, Teach/Inform, Bitterness Revival). We tested which memory functions are shared and which are uniquely linked to nostalgia. The commonality among nostalgia, rumination, and counterfactual thinking resides in their shared positive associations with all memory functions: individuals who evinced a stronger propensity toward past-oriented thought (as manifested in nostalgia, rumination, and counterfactual thinking) reported greater overall recruitment of memories in the service of present functioning. The uniqueness of nostalgia resides in its comparatively strong positive associations with Intimacy Maintenance, Teach/Inform, and Self-Regard and weak association with Bitterness Revival. In all, nostalgia possesses a more positive functional signature than do rumination and counterfactual thinking.",
keywords = "Autobiographical memory, Memory functions, Counterfactual thinking, Rumination, Nostalgia",
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Autobiographical Memory Functions of Nostalgia in Comparison to Rumination and Counterfactual Thinking: Similarity and Uniqueness. / Cheung, Wing Yee; Wildschut, Tim; Sedikides, Constantine.

In: Memory, 01.07.2017.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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T1 - Autobiographical Memory Functions of Nostalgia in Comparison to Rumination and Counterfactual Thinking: Similarity and Uniqueness

AU - Cheung, Wing Yee

AU - Wildschut, Tim

AU - Sedikides, Constantine

PY - 2017/7/1

Y1 - 2017/7/1

N2 - 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 Reduction, Death Preparation, Intimacy Maintenance, Conversation, Teach/Inform, Bitterness Revival). We tested which memory functions are shared and which are uniquely linked to nostalgia. The commonality among nostalgia, rumination, and counterfactual thinking resides in their shared positive associations with all memory functions: individuals who evinced a stronger propensity toward past-oriented thought (as manifested in nostalgia, rumination, and counterfactual thinking) reported greater overall recruitment of memories in the service of present functioning. The uniqueness of nostalgia resides in its comparatively strong positive associations with Intimacy Maintenance, Teach/Inform, and Self-Regard and weak association with Bitterness Revival. In all, nostalgia possesses a more positive functional signature than do rumination and counterfactual thinking.

AB - 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 Reduction, Death Preparation, Intimacy Maintenance, Conversation, Teach/Inform, Bitterness Revival). We tested which memory functions are shared and which are uniquely linked to nostalgia. The commonality among nostalgia, rumination, and counterfactual thinking resides in their shared positive associations with all memory functions: individuals who evinced a stronger propensity toward past-oriented thought (as manifested in nostalgia, rumination, and counterfactual thinking) reported greater overall recruitment of memories in the service of present functioning. The uniqueness of nostalgia resides in its comparatively strong positive associations with Intimacy Maintenance, Teach/Inform, and Self-Regard and weak association with Bitterness Revival. In all, nostalgia possesses a more positive functional signature than do rumination and counterfactual thinking.

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