Abeyta, Routledge, and Kaslon’s work indicates how design may be used to counter loneliness, to some extent. The team found that “Loneliness is difficult to overcome, in part because it is associated with negative social cognitions and social motivations. We argue that nostalgia, a positive emotional experience that involves reflecting on cherished memories, is a psychological resource that regulates these maladaptive intrapsychic tendencies associated with loneliness. . . . results provided support that nostalgia mitigates [lessens] reduced social confidence and low approach-oriented social goals/intentions associated with loneliness. . . . This weakening appeared to be due to nostalgia’s positive effect on social confidence and approach-oriented social goals/intentions, respectively, particularly at high levels of loneliness. . . . nostalgia increased intentions to engage in a social interaction when people were made to feel lonely. . . . feelings of nostalgia are associated with stronger social confidence.” Prior research, completed by Zhou and colleagues in 2008, determined that nostalgia encourages impressions of social support. The Abeyta-lead team report that feelings of nostalgia can be generated via familiar scents or music, for instance.
Andrew Abeyta, Clay Routledge, and Samuel Kaslon. 2020. “Combating Loneliness with Nostalgia: Nostalgic Feelings Attenuate Negative Thoughts and Motivations Associated with Loneliness.” Frontiers in Psychology, https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.01219