Nostalgia increases meaning in life (MIL), but how so? In four experiments—using varied operationalizations of nostalgia, diverse populations, and complementary methodologies—we identified a serial process. We hypothesized and found, in Experiment 1, that self‐continuity boosts MIL. We hypothesized and found, in Experiment 2, that nostalgia increases MIL through self‐continuity. Finally, we hypothesized and found, in Experiments 3‐4, that nostalgia fosters social connectedness, which plausibly heightens self‐continuity, which in turn strengthens MIL. The findings clarify an intricate pathway through which nostalgia renders life more meaningful.
- STATISTICAL MEDIATION ANALYSIS
- meaning in life
- social connectedness