Nostalgia enhances detection of death threat: neural and behavioral evidence
journal contributionposted on 02.07.2021, 05:15 by Z Yang, C Sedikides, K Izuma, T Wildschut, Emiko KashimaEmiko Kashima, YLL Luo, J Chen, H Cai
An experiment examined the potency of nostalgia—a sentimental longing for one’s past—to facilitate detection of death-related stimuli, using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and behavioral techniques (i.e., judgmental accuracy, reaction times). We hypothesized and found that, at the neural level, nostalgic (relative to control) participants evinced more intense activation in right amygdala in response to death-related (vs. neutral) words. We also hypothesized and found that, at the behavioral level, nostalgic (relative to control) participants manifested greater accuracy in judging whether two death-related (vs. neutral) words belonged in the same category. Exploratory analyses indicated that nostalgic (relative to control) participants did not show faster reaction times to death-related (vs. neutral) words. In all, nostalgia appeared to aid in death threat detection. We consider implications for the relevant literatures.