Magazine article Psychology Today

The Thrill of the Throwback

Magazine article Psychology Today

The Thrill of the Throwback

Article excerpt

ON ATHURSDAY not long ago. a Facebook friend tagged me in a photo from an old yearbook: It showed several classmates and me posed on a stairway, Immortalizing some occasion that I can't for the life of me remember. As unexceptional as the picture was, the comments section was awash in nostalgia-my own included- for that random school day four decades earlier.

The power of such ordinary reminders (evident in the many millions of items posted online on Throwback Thursdays) is clarified by a recent Tokyo Metropolitan University study. While undergoing an fMRI scan, young women viewed photos of objects, such as a classroom bulletin board, that they would have seen everyday in elementary school. They also answered questions about the memories and feelings that followed.

The team identified two important aspects of nostalgic memories. First, they were personalty significant. …

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