Pancultural nostalgia: Prototypical conceptions across cultures

Erica G. Hepper, Tim Wildschut, Constantine Sedikides, Timothy D. Ritchie, Yiu Fai Yung, Nina Hansen, Georgios Abakoumkin, Gizem Arikan, Sylwia Z. Cisek, Didier B. Demassosso, Jochen E. Gebauer, J. P. Gerber, Roberto González, Takashi Kusumi, Girishwar Misra, Mihaela Rusu, Oisín Ryan, Elena Stephan, Ad J. Ad, Xinyue Zhou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

154 Scopus citations


Nostalgia is a frequently experienced complex emotion, understood by laypersons in the United Kingdom and United States of America to (a) refer prototypically to fond, self-relevant, social memories and (b) be more pleasant (e.g., happy, warm) than unpleasant (e.g., sad, regretful). This research examined whether people across cultures conceive of nostalgia in the same way. Students in 18 countries across 5 continents (N = 1,704) rated the prototypicality of 35 features of nostalgia. The samples showed high levels of agreement on the rank-order of features. In all countries, participants rated previously identified central (vs. peripheral) features as more prototypical of nostalgia, and showed greater interindividual agreement regarding central (vs. peripheral) features. Cluster analyses revealed subtle variation among groups of countries with respect to the strength of these pancultural patterns. All except African countries manifested the same factor structure of nostalgia features. Additional exemplars generated by participants in an open-ended format did not entail elaboration of the existing set of 35 features. Findings identified key points of cross-cultural agreement regarding conceptions of nostalgia, supporting the notion that nostalgia is a pancultural emotion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)733-747
Number of pages15
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2014


  • Culture
  • Emotion
  • Nostalgia
  • Prototype


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