full transcript

From the Ted Talk by Clay Routledge: Why do we feel nostalgia?

Unscramble the Blue Letters

In the late 17th century, a medical student named Johannes Hofer netoicd a strange illness affecting Swiss mercenaries serving abroad. Its symptoms, including fuaitge, insomnia, irregular heartbeat, indigestion, and fever were so strong, the soldiers often had to be discharged. As Hofer discovered, the cause was not some physical disturbance, but an intense yearning for their mountain hmelanod. He dubbed the ciiotnodn nostalgia, from the Greek "nostos" for homecoming and "algos" for pain or longing. At first, nostalgia was considered a particularly Swiss affliction. Some doctors proposed that the constant sound of clelobws in the Alps caused taurma to the ear drums and bairn. cnodamerms even forbade their soldiers from singing traditional Swiss songs for fear that they'd lead to desertion or suicide. But as migration increased wdrilowde, nostalgia was observed in various groups. It turned out that anyone srapeeatd from their native place for a long time was vlleabnure to nostalgia. And by the early 20th century, professionals no longer viewed it as a neurological disease, but as a mental condition sailimr to depression. Psychologists of the time speculated that it represented difficulties letting go of childhood, or even a lnngiog to reutrn to one's fetal state. But over the next few decades, the understanding of nostalgia changed in two important ways. Its meaning expanded from indicating homesickness to a general longing for the past. And rather than an awful disease, it began to be seen as a pnaniogt and pleasant experience. Perhaps the most famous example of this was captured by French author Marcel Proust. He described how tasting a madeleine cake he had not eaten since childhood triggered a cacdsae of warm and powerful sensory associations. So what caused such a major reversal in our view of nostalgia? Part of it has to do with snceice. pghoyclosy sehfitd away from pure thoery and towards more careful and systematic empirical observation. So plrseoaniosfs realized that many of the negative symptoms may have been simply correlated with nostalgia rather than caused by it. And, in fact, despite being a complex emotional state that can include feelings of loss and sadness, nostalgia doesn't generally put people in a negative mood. Instead, by allowing inauliiddvs to remember personally meaningful and rdraniweg experiences they shared with others, nostalgia can boost psychological well-being. Studies have shown that inducing nostalgia in people can help increase their feelings of self-esteem and social bgnenoilg, encourage psychological growth, and even make them act more charitably. So rather than being a cause of mntael distress, nostalgia can be a reairsvtote way of coping with it. For iatnnsce, when people experience negative emotional states, they tend to naturally use nostalgia to reduce distress and restore well-being. Today, it seems that nlstiagoa is everywhere, paraitlly because advertisers have deoeicvsrd how powerful it is as a marketing technique. It's tempting to think of this as a sign of us being stuck in the past, but that's not really how nostalgia works. Instead, nostalgia helps us remember that our lives can have meaning and value, helping us find the cdcfnoeine and mivtaotoin to face the challenges of the fuurte.

Open Cloze

In the late 17th century, a medical student named Johannes Hofer _______ a strange illness affecting Swiss mercenaries serving abroad. Its symptoms, including _______, insomnia, irregular heartbeat, indigestion, and fever were so strong, the soldiers often had to be discharged. As Hofer discovered, the cause was not some physical disturbance, but an intense yearning for their mountain ________. He dubbed the _________ nostalgia, from the Greek "nostos" for homecoming and "algos" for pain or longing. At first, nostalgia was considered a particularly Swiss affliction. Some doctors proposed that the constant sound of ________ in the Alps caused ______ to the ear drums and _____. __________ even forbade their soldiers from singing traditional Swiss songs for fear that they'd lead to desertion or suicide. But as migration increased _________, nostalgia was observed in various groups. It turned out that anyone _________ from their native place for a long time was __________ to nostalgia. And by the early 20th century, professionals no longer viewed it as a neurological disease, but as a mental condition _______ to depression. Psychologists of the time speculated that it represented difficulties letting go of childhood, or even a _______ to ______ to one's fetal state. But over the next few decades, the understanding of nostalgia changed in two important ways. Its meaning expanded from indicating homesickness to a general longing for the past. And rather than an awful disease, it began to be seen as a ________ and pleasant experience. Perhaps the most famous example of this was captured by French author Marcel Proust. He described how tasting a madeleine cake he had not eaten since childhood triggered a _______ of warm and powerful sensory associations. So what caused such a major reversal in our view of nostalgia? Part of it has to do with _______. __________ _______ away from pure ______ and towards more careful and systematic empirical observation. So _____________ realized that many of the negative symptoms may have been simply correlated with nostalgia rather than caused by it. And, in fact, despite being a complex emotional state that can include feelings of loss and sadness, nostalgia doesn't generally put people in a negative mood. Instead, by allowing ___________ to remember personally meaningful and _________ experiences they shared with others, nostalgia can boost psychological well-being. Studies have shown that inducing nostalgia in people can help increase their feelings of self-esteem and social _________, encourage psychological growth, and even make them act more charitably. So rather than being a cause of ______ distress, nostalgia can be a ___________ way of coping with it. For ________, when people experience negative emotional states, they tend to naturally use nostalgia to reduce distress and restore well-being. Today, it seems that _________ is everywhere, _________ because advertisers have __________ how powerful it is as a marketing technique. It's tempting to think of this as a sign of us being stuck in the past, but that's not really how nostalgia works. Instead, nostalgia helps us remember that our lives can have meaning and value, helping us find the __________ and __________ to face the challenges of the ______.

Solution

  1. theory
  2. trauma
  3. noticed
  4. motivation
  5. belonging
  6. similar
  7. brain
  8. rewarding
  9. longing
  10. commanders
  11. confidence
  12. partially
  13. separated
  14. return
  15. instance
  16. science
  17. nostalgia
  18. vulnerable
  19. worldwide
  20. condition
  21. professionals
  22. discovered
  23. fatigue
  24. psychology
  25. individuals
  26. restorative
  27. mental
  28. cascade
  29. poignant
  30. cowbells
  31. future
  32. homeland
  33. shifted

Original Text

In the late 17th century, a medical student named Johannes Hofer noticed a strange illness affecting Swiss mercenaries serving abroad. Its symptoms, including fatigue, insomnia, irregular heartbeat, indigestion, and fever were so strong, the soldiers often had to be discharged. As Hofer discovered, the cause was not some physical disturbance, but an intense yearning for their mountain homeland. He dubbed the condition nostalgia, from the Greek "nostos" for homecoming and "algos" for pain or longing. At first, nostalgia was considered a particularly Swiss affliction. Some doctors proposed that the constant sound of cowbells in the Alps caused trauma to the ear drums and brain. Commanders even forbade their soldiers from singing traditional Swiss songs for fear that they'd lead to desertion or suicide. But as migration increased worldwide, nostalgia was observed in various groups. It turned out that anyone separated from their native place for a long time was vulnerable to nostalgia. And by the early 20th century, professionals no longer viewed it as a neurological disease, but as a mental condition similar to depression. Psychologists of the time speculated that it represented difficulties letting go of childhood, or even a longing to return to one's fetal state. But over the next few decades, the understanding of nostalgia changed in two important ways. Its meaning expanded from indicating homesickness to a general longing for the past. And rather than an awful disease, it began to be seen as a poignant and pleasant experience. Perhaps the most famous example of this was captured by French author Marcel Proust. He described how tasting a madeleine cake he had not eaten since childhood triggered a cascade of warm and powerful sensory associations. So what caused such a major reversal in our view of nostalgia? Part of it has to do with science. Psychology shifted away from pure theory and towards more careful and systematic empirical observation. So professionals realized that many of the negative symptoms may have been simply correlated with nostalgia rather than caused by it. And, in fact, despite being a complex emotional state that can include feelings of loss and sadness, nostalgia doesn't generally put people in a negative mood. Instead, by allowing individuals to remember personally meaningful and rewarding experiences they shared with others, nostalgia can boost psychological well-being. Studies have shown that inducing nostalgia in people can help increase their feelings of self-esteem and social belonging, encourage psychological growth, and even make them act more charitably. So rather than being a cause of mental distress, nostalgia can be a restorative way of coping with it. For instance, when people experience negative emotional states, they tend to naturally use nostalgia to reduce distress and restore well-being. Today, it seems that nostalgia is everywhere, partially because advertisers have discovered how powerful it is as a marketing technique. It's tempting to think of this as a sign of us being stuck in the past, but that's not really how nostalgia works. Instead, nostalgia helps us remember that our lives can have meaning and value, helping us find the confidence and motivation to face the challenges of the future.

Frequently Occurring Word Combinations

Important Words

  1. act
  2. advertisers
  3. affecting
  4. affliction
  5. allowing
  6. alps
  7. associations
  8. author
  9. awful
  10. began
  11. belonging
  12. boost
  13. brain
  14. cake
  15. captured
  16. careful
  17. cascade
  18. caused
  19. century
  20. challenges
  21. changed
  22. charitably
  23. childhood
  24. commanders
  25. complex
  26. condition
  27. confidence
  28. considered
  29. constant
  30. coping
  31. correlated
  32. cowbells
  33. decades
  34. depression
  35. desertion
  36. difficulties
  37. discharged
  38. discovered
  39. disease
  40. distress
  41. disturbance
  42. doctors
  43. drums
  44. dubbed
  45. ear
  46. early
  47. eaten
  48. emotional
  49. empirical
  50. encourage
  51. expanded
  52. experience
  53. experiences
  54. face
  55. fact
  56. famous
  57. fatigue
  58. fear
  59. feelings
  60. fetal
  61. fever
  62. find
  63. forbade
  64. french
  65. future
  66. general
  67. generally
  68. greek
  69. groups
  70. growth
  71. heartbeat
  72. helping
  73. helps
  74. hofer
  75. homecoming
  76. homeland
  77. homesickness
  78. illness
  79. important
  80. include
  81. including
  82. increase
  83. increased
  84. indicating
  85. indigestion
  86. individuals
  87. inducing
  88. insomnia
  89. instance
  90. intense
  91. irregular
  92. johannes
  93. late
  94. lead
  95. letting
  96. lives
  97. long
  98. longer
  99. longing
  100. loss
  101. madeleine
  102. major
  103. marcel
  104. marketing
  105. meaning
  106. meaningful
  107. medical
  108. mental
  109. mercenaries
  110. migration
  111. mood
  112. motivation
  113. mountain
  114. named
  115. native
  116. naturally
  117. negative
  118. neurological
  119. nostalgia
  120. noticed
  121. observation
  122. observed
  123. pain
  124. part
  125. partially
  126. people
  127. personally
  128. physical
  129. place
  130. pleasant
  131. poignant
  132. powerful
  133. professionals
  134. proposed
  135. proust
  136. psychological
  137. psychologists
  138. psychology
  139. pure
  140. put
  141. realized
  142. reduce
  143. remember
  144. represented
  145. restorative
  146. restore
  147. return
  148. reversal
  149. rewarding
  150. sadness
  151. science
  152. sensory
  153. separated
  154. serving
  155. shared
  156. shifted
  157. shown
  158. sign
  159. similar
  160. simply
  161. singing
  162. social
  163. soldiers
  164. songs
  165. sound
  166. speculated
  167. state
  168. states
  169. strange
  170. strong
  171. stuck
  172. student
  173. studies
  174. suicide
  175. swiss
  176. symptoms
  177. systematic
  178. tasting
  179. technique
  180. tempting
  181. tend
  182. theory
  183. time
  184. today
  185. traditional
  186. trauma
  187. triggered
  188. turned
  189. understanding
  190. view
  191. viewed
  192. vulnerable
  193. warm
  194. ways
  195. works
  196. worldwide
  197. yearning