Outlying in my field again

How could I have missed such a ridiculous research finding? “Long considered a disorder, nostalgia is now recognised as a powerful tool in the battle against anxiety and depression.”

Sure, if you’re a happy, well-adjusted person who hasn’t single-handedly ruined your own life, then it might be true that nostalgia is a “profoundly rooting experience” that reinforces your sense of continuity and purpose. But what if, by looking back on the past, you are reminded of what a great life you once had and then threw away? Surely that leads one to feel more, not less, anxious and depressed.

As it turns out, the researchers are being very sneaky. They’ve decided that they’ll call something “nostalgia” only if it evokes positive, happy reminiscences. Apparently “using memories to remind oneself of how poorly one has been treated or to reinforce regret” falls into the category of rumination, not nostalgia. So if you have pleasant memories of a time when people loved you, and those people now hate you, that isn’t nostalgia at all.

It’s hard to imagine how similar sleight of hand could be used to manipulate medical research. A heart attack is a heart attack is a myocardial infarction. You could call some of them unicorn burps, but the presentation, treatment, and results will be the same as for the conditions you didn’t rename.

Once again social “scientists” demonstrate that what they practice is not science at all.


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