Music-evoked nostalgia: What is it and what does it do to us? - Eun Cho (EUA)


Nostalgia, generally understood as sentimentality for one’s valued past, is one of the popular themes frequently employed in advertising and marketing. This is perhaps due to the power of nostalgia in altering the consumers’ emotions, attitudes, and eventually behavior. In a similar vein, this research project aimed to explore if nostalgia specifically evoked by music affects the listeners’ donation decision. As a collaboration between EARS at UC Riverside and Centro Mexicano para la Música y las Artes Sonoras (CMMAS), 239 undergraduate student participants from California, USA, and Morelia, Mexico took part in a one-on-one research experiment.

In the experiment, participants completed multiple questionnaires and participated in a music listening task where they listened to five pieces of nostalgia music of their own choosing and a Donation Dictator Game. They were also interviewed about their past experiences associated with the music they listened to. Data collected yielded rich information on various aspects of participants’ listening experiences with nostalgic-evoking music. Particularly in a response to the relationship between music-evoked nostalgia and participants’ donation decision, results indicated that music-evoked nostalgia played a significant role in the participants’ decision-making regarding how much to donate in both the U.S. and Mexican samples. In her presentation at Visiones Sonoras 2021, Dr. Eun Cho will discuss the concept of music-evoked nostalgia, particularly what it does to us in everyday life, and present findings from the music-evoked nostalgia research project.

Eun Cho
I am a music educator and a researcher, interested in the interdisciplinary research that encompasses music, education, psychology, and culture. Currently, I am a visiting scholar at EARS at UCR and have been leading a research project on music-evoked nostalgia since 2019 in a collaboration with Centro Mexicano para la Música y las Artes Sonoras (CMMAS) in Morelia, Mexico. My other research focuses on small music ensembles as a context to cultivate social-emotional skills and creativity and musical parenting.

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