Nostalgia elicits feelings of social connectedness, making us feel as though we have a social network in which we belong. Interestingly, social connectedness decreases our desire for money by making us feel less reliant on it because we are supported by our network of friends and family.1
Nostalgia and social connectedness
Research shows that nostalgia serves to increase feelings of social connectedness. Nostalgic memories often feature significant people in our lives, which makes us feel more strongly connected to our social network. In fact, one study demonstrated that participants tasked with writing about a nostalgic event felt more loved and protected than did participants who wrote about autobiographical events that did not elicit feelings of nostalgia.2
The nostalgia effect occurs through a two-step process. In the first step, nostalgic memories are brought to mind, making us feel more socially connected. The second step involves the interplay between social connectedness and money.
Friends and funds
Money is an important resource that facilitates the satisfaction of our basic needs. However, these needs can also be satisfied if we have a strong social network to support us. For this reason, having lots of money can make social connectedness seem less important, whereas strong social connectedness can make money seem less important. Janinne D. Lasaleta, Constantine Sedikides, and Kathleen D. Vohns published a paper in 2014, titled “Nostalgia Weakens the Desire for Money”. One of their key findings was that we tend to treat money and social connectedness as interchangeable. As such, the feelings of social connectedness fostered by nostalgia make us less inclined to save our money.3
After nostalgic memories have led to an increase in feelings of social connectedness, the second step to give rise to the nostalgia effect occurs. In this step, our desire for money is reduced by our strengthened feelings of social connectedness, making us more willing to spend our money.