Researchers at the University of Southampton and Sun Yat-Sen University collaborated to explore whether feelings of nostalgia help protect people against the cold. They conducted various experiments (published in the Journal Emotion
) such as 1) putting people in a cold room, asking them to recall a nostalgic event from their past, and then asking them to guess the temp; and 2) asking volunteers to recall a nostalgic event while their hand was dunked in ice-cold water. [nbcnews.com
The researchers concluded that overall recalling nostalgic events "evinced greater tolerance to noxious cold." So instead of turning up your heater this winter you could save some money by wistfully remembering the good old days instead.
Why would nostalgia keep you warm? The researchers suggest that "the nostalgia-warmth link derives from a universal mental association between interpersonal affiliation (which nostalgia fosters) and warmth, which is rooted in infant-caregiver interaction."
But, of course, more research is necessary. For instance, the researchers propose that future investigations will explore whether "nostalgia functions in a different capacity for individuals reared in warm (compared to colder) climates. Conceivably, in colder climates nostalgia could primarily serve to ameliorate thermoregulatory (cold) discomfort, whereas in warmer climates it could primarily serve to ameliorate thirst."