Language Dependent Effects of Nostalgia, via Mental Transportation, among Bilinguals
People more easily recall autobiographical memories with greater mental imagery when recalling them in their dominant language and when the language of recall matches the language of encoding. Nostalgia, an emotional experience borne out of autobiographical recall and facilitated through mental imagery, may also be influenced by the language in which nostalgic memories are both encoded and recalled. This project tested how the language of encoding and recall of nostalgic memories in people’s dominant (vs. non-dominant) language influences the degree to which people mentally transport to nostalgic events and consequently experience meaning in life and self-continuity. Study 1 (N = 210) investigated how recalling a nostalgic (vs. ordinary) autobiographical memory in one’s dominant (vs. non-dominant) language influences the degree to which people experience its psychological benefits through their ability to mentally transport to these experiences. Nostalgic recall facilitated higher levels of self-continuity, but mental transportation did not mediate this effect. Additionally, people who recalled a memory in their dominant language were more likely to have encoded that memory in the same language. Study 2 (N = 201) experimentally manipulated encoding and recall language and tested how recalling a nostalgic memory in one’s dominant (vs. non-dominant) language that was encoded in the same language affects the degree to which bilinguals reap nostalgia’s benefits through mental transportation. Neither language dominance of nostalgic recall nor encoding had any impact on how people mentally transported to the nostalgic memories or experienced meaning in life and self-continuity. These findings shed light on the role (or lack thereof) language plays in influencing nostalgic recall among bilinguals.
Evans, Nicholas Daniel, "Language Dependent Effects of Nostalgia, via Mental Transportation, among Bilinguals" (2022). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI29167439.