Building the Future from the Past: Evaluating the Relationship between Nostalgia and Imagination
Date Thesis Awarded
Honors Thesis -- Access Restricted On-Campus Only
Bachelors of Arts (BA)
Within the past three decades, nostalgia has gained notable attention as an emotion worthy of study. Historically considered a type of illness akin to homesickness, recent research has demonstrated a variety of social and emotional benefits stemming from nostalgic experience, ranging from increased empathy, to healthier coping styles, to enhanced self-esteem. Most relevant to this study, however, nostalgia has demonstrated potential as a facilitator of inspiration (Stephan et al, 2015). Building on this research, I sought to understand how nostalgia might affect performance following inspiration, hypothesizing that experiences of nostalgia would improve performance in goal-oriented imaginativeness, specifically in imaginative suggestibility. Analysis of a direct effect model and three other mediation models yielded little statistical evidence to support this hypothesis. An additional assessment of personality traits proved somewhat more successful, finding significant correlations between nostalgia proneness, fantasy proneness, and vividness of visual imagery. The results demonstrate many of the difficulties associated with quantifying and measuring such abstract phenomena, but also lay some of the groundwork for future study in the fields of nostalgia, imagination, and personality research.
Keywords: nostalgia, imagination, inspiration
Smith, Conor O., "Building the Future from the Past: Evaluating the Relationship between Nostalgia and Imagination" (2017). Undergraduate Honors Theses. William & Mary. Paper 1150.
On-Campus Access Only