LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Nostalgia is a powerful feeling. It takes us back. We relive memories, emotions, and experiences that make our life what it is today. Knowing the power of nostalgia, more and more companies are bringing back nostalgic items and making them new and popular again.
In THV11’s series “Cool Again,” we look at some of the old school items making a major comeback. But first, we take a closer look at the power of nostalgia.
Studies show nostalgia changes how we live and act. According to a series of studies published in a 2015 issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, feelings of nostalgia can increase our resilience and our positivity about the future. Another study by the Journal of Consumer Research, Inc. confirmed that when you feel nostalgia, you make bigger purchasing decisions, spending more money while shopping.
But why is nostalgia so powerful?
THV11 spoke with a business that depends on the power of nostalgia to hear how it motivates customers. We also spoke with a professor of sociology to better understand how and why memories of the past can change our future.
Valerie Wingart's business, South Main Creative, depends on the draw of nostalgia. It’s an antique store full of unique finds that feel like a blast to the past.
“People get real excited when they see things that remind them of their childhood because it gives them an emotional reaction,” she said. “They love the things they remember playing with or things they used to watch.”
Wingart said the feeling of nostalgia is what makes her store more than just a shop; it's an experience built on an incredibly strong emotion. It’s what keeps people coming back.
“Whatever thing really grabs your heart, you're probably interested in starting to collect,” she said.” Then, you’re coming back looking for another version or something else in a series.”
Wingart said nostalgia is all about the good memories and keeping them alive as long as possible.
“It’s like a trip through time and people really enjoy it,” she said.
University of Arkansas Little Rock professor, Dr. Terry Richard, has studied topics like nostalgia for decades.
“People are drawn to the idea of looking back to what they see as a simpler time or what reminds them of things they enjoyed when they were younger,” he said.
He said it's no surprise that throughout all of history, nostalgia has had incredible power over people.
“As a society, we have increasingly become more advanced and complex but there still continues to be a cyclical pattern,” he said. “The fads come and go but you can almost guarantee they’re going to come back again.”
Dr. Richard said each generation has its own form of nostalgia that they look back at which makes nostalgic products an easy market for anyone.
“Nostalgia is kind of a commodity in that it’s something you can sell,” he said. “Sometimes contemporary appeals to something new just won’t work and you have to make it nostalgic.”
With a feeling as powerful as nostalgia, it’s no surprise it will continue to be a powerful force and tool for years to come. After all, whether we are looking to the past or future, our memories seem to always meet us there.