It's a slow news day, so what better to read than a bit of neuroscience? Over at Very Evolved, Patrick the Researcher decided to explain the science behind nostalgia, otherwise known as "that warm and fuzzy feeling that is keeping Hollywood in summer blockbusters."

Studies indicate that nostalgia is a kind of anti-depressant -- which probably isn't news to anyone who has found comfort in chocolate chip cookies or Flight of the Navigator.

But Patrick cautions that nostalgic memories can be "recoded" and what we once loved and cherished becomes associated with negativity. This, he reasons, is why Star Wars fans dislike George Lucas. "A great example of this in action that also demonstrates fluid nostalgia is the backlash against George Lucas. A large portion of 70's and 80's children had grown up owning Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader figures and playing in the backyard pretending sticks were light sabers. Fond childhood memories. When the first abysmal Star Wars Prequel was released the strong feelings against the film weren't just those of disappointment at a bad movie. If it were that simple, we should also feel the same way about Police Academy 7. The reaction can be partly explained by the sense of attack on our previously fond feelings. Watching the new movie automatically calls up memories from the previous series and all the pleasant childhood playtime memories associated with it. But recalling these fond memories in the context of a negative experience begins the process of re-coding, or modifying our old memories. This is an undesirable outcome for nostalgia."

But hey -- anyone who has ever screamed "George Lucas raped my childhood" could tell you that. Now they have science and psychology to back them up!

[via io9]

categories Movies, Cinematical