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We all have something in our lives that we are sentimental about, and even a glimpse of that object/idea can bring back happy memories. And nostalgia makes the remembrances of those experiences feel better than comparable experiences today.

However, my question is differentiating between the extent of happiness gathered through these different experiences:

  1. Happiness received in those times by those experiences. (Playing Diablo 2 in 2001)

  2. Happiness experiences by remembering those times, today (aka nostalgia) (Reminiscing about Diablo 2 sessions today after seeing some images of Rogue Encampment)

  3. Happiness by doing those same things today. (Playing Diablo 2 today)

Which of these is the strongest and why?

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    $\begingroup$ I think this is a difficult question to answer; for one thing, how would you define happiness? And the experience while playing it back then will have been much longer (and hence 'happiness' may be integrated over time) than a single memory 20 years later. So I think your 3 events as depicted are impossible to quantify into a unified 'happiness parameter', or the happiness quantity needs to be sharply defined first. Adding your prior research efforts may help a lot to flesh out this question further. $\endgroup$
    – AliceD
    Apr 15 at 7:05
  • $\begingroup$ Isn't the question in the title a bit circular? $\endgroup$
    – Bryan Krause
    Apr 23 at 17:19
  • $\begingroup$ @AliceD Maybe the amount of hormone or electric signals in a particular of the brain? As for the length, I think time is experienced in a slower fashion in the older days, so playing for longer time today and shorter time in those days are similar. I unfortunately am not a researcher, just a thinker $\endgroup$ May 10 at 5:59
  • $\begingroup$ I believe it's the other way around: Time speeds up with age. Hormones and electrical activity don't measure happiness, because the brain is multi-functional (single hormone = does many things; single brain region = does many things). We do know that subjects tend to overrate their actual happiness over time (eg, remembering past vacations as happier times than they were rated during the actual trips), but the stated comparisons seem suspect (eg, I used to love rollercoasters, but I only get nauseous now; I used to despise eating fish, but I appreciate the flavor more now). $\endgroup$
    – Arnon Weinberg
    May 24 at 4:57
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    $\begingroup$ Bottom line = I agree with @AliceD re this question being difficult to answer. $\endgroup$
    – Arnon Weinberg
    May 24 at 4:57
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The answer to this is most definitely a broad one. This depends on the persons experiences and how they take it all in. The answer before made a good point about happiness is defined differently among everyone. It’s up to you what you connect that with. Most people have a sentimental feeling when thinking about their family some might be completely opposite, maybe it’s because their family aren’t good to them and they were abused before by them or some sort of behavior to leave them with negative memories. Life is strange and so are people. We have plenty of studies to explain this and so far people still seem to be lost without direction in their life. great article you should take a look at

References

FioRito, T. A., & Routledge, C. (2020). Is Nostalgia a Past or Future-Oriented Experience? Affective, Behavioral, Social Cognitive, and Neuroscientific Evidence. Frontiers in Psychology, 11(1113). https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.01133

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