One of the great things about psychology is that it is useful to people in so many different fields of study. In an upcoming article in the Journal of Consumer Research, Katherine Loveland and her colleagues show how loneliness and feelings of social exclusion lead to choices of nostalgic products over current favorites.

When I read this press release, I immediately asked myself, what is a nostalgic product for me? One that came to mind was animal crackers. I don’t know why, but I’ve always liked animal crackers. I went out looking for a photo of them to use for this post, and horror of horrors, they CHANGED the packaging!

What did they do to my "nostalgic" cookies?

Now, I’m fortunate enough to not feel very socially excluded right now. I’m happily working at home, with Mr. F and Karla nearby, and expecting phone calls from Karen and Kristin. So this is not a nostalgia cookie catastrophe. Even so, seeing the new packaging made me kind of sad. Fortunately, the people at Stauffer’s might have anticipated a bit of a reaction from us Boomers, and they still offer the cookies in the original little boxes with the string handles.

Ah, this looks so much better!

Getting back to Loveland et al., here’s even better news. Apparently, if you indulge your nostalgia, you feel LESS socially excluded. I’m not sure the cookie cure is wise if taken to excess, but there are many things that are nostalgic and NOT food.  I think I might consult with Mr. F about watching some Star Trek reruns tonight….Edith Keeler anyone?