Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies student Jillian Alexander is studying nostalgic consumption with the support of the WNMU Student Research and Professional Development Summer Scholars program. “A hundred years ago when nostalgia was first mentioned in literature, it was considered a disease you could die of: a sentimental longing. With this research, I was seeing if nostalgic consumption is a terror management response,” she says.
Jillian had noticed a shift in the music people streamed while at home during the pandemic. “New bands weren’t getting listened to as much. They wanted music that made them feel comfortable and safe,” she says.
She wanted to see whether people get the same feeling from eating banana bread, for example, as from listening to songs from their youth. “I built a psychometric scale for nostalgic consumption. I’ve uncovered a lot of interesting stuff, but I’m still analyzing the data,” Jillian says.
If her psychometric scale for nostalgic consumption gets published, it would be cited often. “In academia, that’s what they want you to do,” she says.
SRPD provided the funding for Jillian to run surveys and dedicate her time solely to research. “It’s intense, but it feels good to have a flow with something that I found so complicated such a short while ago,” she said.
Applying to Ph.D. programs, Jillian aims to be a psychology professor. “As soon as I started working as a TA, I learned I enjoy helping students. They have all the good ideas; they just need to be guided.”
This is a WNMU Mustang Scholar profile. If you are interested in pursuing research at WNMU, contact Joe Doyle at 575-538-6658 or email@example.com.