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In case you haven't heard, the Apollo 11 mission that landed humans on the moon happened exactly 50 years ago — but why does that temporal inevitability seem so compelling to so many people?
Psychologists have said that when events tie directly to our self-constructed identities, anniversaries can be a powerful way of marking time. This is true for individuals and societies alike. None of this research looked at Apollo specifically, but psychologists study how people respond to other key global events, as well as how people think about personal milestones like birthdays or anniversaries of significant moments.
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"Generally, we know if we revisit a specific anniversary, we know that that thing happened, say, quite a number of years ago, and it's rare that we forget the actual objective time stamp of that event," Anne Wilson, a psychologist at Wilfrid Laurier University in Canada, told Space.com. "But often when we revisit anniversaries, it tends to increase the sense of subjective closeness, so we feel like that event is — it feels much more vivid, and it feels much more close to us, at least temporarily."
Moon - Landing - Giveaway - Simulation - Curriculum
Apollo 11 Moon Landing Giveaway with Simulation Curriculum & Celestron!
And chances are, people who were alive for the moon landing are revisiting memories of more than simply the basic historical facts of the event. "[Anniversaries] really jog our memory about all the other things that happened around that time and how we felt," Johanna Peetz, a psychologist at Carleton University in Canada, told Space.com.
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"It's very intertwined," Peetz said. "Hearing about an anniversary of a global event would always remind you of what your life was like when you actually learned about it the first time."
Peetz added that the effect is most powerful for moments an individual can actually remember for themselves. But Wilson said that if...
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