Tearless Emotions

David Coleman | Dreamstime Stock Photos

Did you know? 

There is no scientific basis that animals can weep as humans do.  Years of observations still do not show if chimpanzees can cry in response to emotions.

Many animals shed tears in response to pain or use tears as a protective device – to keep their eyes moist and free of bacteria, but it is not clear if they can illicit tears due to empathy.  Crying due to empathy seems to be unique the human condition

The New York Times reveals that after a few month of birth tearful crying, for humans, becomes a form of communication and ‘begins to serve interpersonal purposes:  the search for comfort and pacification.  As we get older, crying becomes a tool of our social repertory: grief and joy, shame and pride, fear and manipulation.

More recently, we’ve learned from neuroscience that certain brain circuits are activated, rapidly and unconsciously, when we see another in emotional distress. In short, our brain evolved circuits to allow us to experience empathy and compassion, which in turn made civilization possible.

There are many interesting facts and insights into tearful crying, which this article points out one it that tears seem to be the only body fluids that do not evoke feelings of disgust.  There’s no real surprise that women not only cry more frequently men but they cry more intensely too.

Men tend not to try and explain their tears but apologize for them instead.  Men are more likely than women to cry when their core identities- as providers and protector, fathers and fighters are questioned.

Sadness and grief are the main reasons that people report crying, but many people also report feeling happier after crying.  It seems to relieve tension and provides a “catharsis” of bad feelings – ‘Crying disrupts speech, which is why we choke up and weep this suggest to linguist and anthropologists that emotional crying evolved before prepositional language, perhaps explaining why tears communicate states of mind and feelings that are often so difficult to express in words.’

Read the entire article for more detailed and enlightening information.

 What are your thought on crying? Does the article and science have it right or are they missing something ?

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