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NDSU professor featured on 'Today' show

Photo of Clay Routledge

Clay Routledge

NDSU psychology professor Clay Routledge recently was featured during a segment about nostalgia on NBC’s “Today” show.

The three-minute segment, titled “Everything Old Is New Again: How turning to nostalgia helps in times of stress,” aired on Oct. 31 as part of the show’s Halloween-themed episode. It was hosted by Jenna Bush Hager, daughter of former President George W. Bush.

“The genesis of the segment was that people were noticing a lot of retro fashion trends,” Routledge said. “That was the seed. It also seems like older video games and TV shows are coming back in style. They were curious about what it all means from a psychological standpoint.”

Routledge, who has researched different angles regarding nostalgia for more than 15 years, was contacted by “Today” producers earlier this year. The initial plan was for Routledge to fly to New York to be a guest on the show. However, a “Today” show crew eventually interviewed Routledge on campus this summer.

In the segment, Routledge talks about how nostalgia can be a reassuring confidence boost and a way for people to re-stabilize during times of high stress and uncertainty.

Routledge’s current research at NDSU focuses on the motivational aspects of nostalgia.

“We have discovered a number of clues that indicate nostalgia doesn’t just influence mood,” he said. “It also has a motivational power. We assumed nostalgia was an avoidance thing. But it turns out it often mobilizes people and helps push them forward.”

Routledge this summer published “Supernatural: Death, Meaning and the Power of the Invisible World.” The book tackles the psychology of religion.

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