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Collective Nostalgia: A Group-Level Emotion That Confers Unique Benefits on the Group

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Tim Wildschut, Martin Bruder, Sara Robertson, Wijnand van Tilburg, Constantine Sedikides

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)844-863
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Personality and Social Psychology
Issue number5
PublishedNov 2014


  • Wildschut_et_al._2014_JPSP

    Wildschut_et_al._2014_JPSP.pdf, 717 KB, application/pdf

    Uploaded date:03 Feb 2016

    Version:Accepted author manuscript

King's Authors


This research established collective nostalgia as a group-level emotion and ascertained the benefits it confers on the group. In Study 1, participants who reflected on a nostalgic event they had experienced together with ingroup members (collective nostalgia) evaluated the ingroup more positively and reported stronger intentions to approach (and not avoid) ingroup members than those who recalled a nostalgic event they had experienced individually (personal nostalgia), those who reflected on a lucky event they had experienced together with ingroup members (collective positive), and those who did not recall an event (no recall). In Study 2, collective (vs. personal) nostalgia strengthened behavioral intentions to support the ingroup more so than did recalling an ordinary collective (vs. personal) event. Increased collective self-esteem mediated this effect. In Study 3, collective nostalgia (compared with recall of an ordinary collective event) led participants to sacrifice money in order to punish a transgression perpetrated against an ingroup member. This effect of collective nostalgia was more pronounced when social identification was high (compared with low). Finally, in Study 4, collective nostalgia converged toward the group average (i.e., was socially shared) when participants thought of themselves in terms of their group membership. The findings underscore the viability of studying nostalgia at multiple levels of analysis and highlight the significance of collective nostalgia for understanding group-level attitudes, global action tendencies, specific behavioral intentions, and behavior.

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