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Wulf, Tim; Bonus, James A. and Rieger, Diana (2018): The inspired time traveler: examining the implications of nostalgic entertainment experiences for two-factor models of entertainment. In: Media Psychology, Vol. 22, No. 5: pp. 795-817

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Two studies investigated the characteristics of nostalgic entertainment experiences. A survey (Study 1) asked American undergraduates to report their cognitive and affective reactions during a recent entertainment experience that they deemed nostalgic, meaningful, or pleasurable. Results indicated that nostalgic experiences often occurred after exposure to familiar media content (e.g., beloved children’s shows). Although these experiences were affectively similar to both pleasurable entertainment experiences (in terms of enjoyment) and meaningful entertainment experiences (in terms of mixed affect), they differed in the focus of their associated cognitions (i.e., reflection on the self in the past and over time). A follow-up experiment (Study 2) demonstrated that exposure to familiar children’s shows (rather than unfamiliar children’s shows or meaningful film trailers) induced nostalgic reactions in adults ranging in age from 19 to 47. The implications of these findings for current two-factor models of entertainment are discussed.

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