Psychology in the News

February 9, 2010

The benefits of crying

Filed under: attachment, emotions, evolution — Tags: , , , , — intro2psych @ 7:58 am

by Rachel Anspach

Been Crying (2)

Been Crying (2) by Toni Blay

Crying is often the result of feelings of sadness and frustration, but after crying many people experience a feeling of release and catharsis (Byslma, 2008).  Humans are the only species that shed tears emotionally.  Crying is something that all people of all ages and cultures do (Hendriks, 2008).  Since crying is a trait that has evolved solely in humans, there must be some sort of evolutionary advantage to emotional crying.  Many studies have been done which examine the effect that crying has on the body, and most of them have actually found that crying actually has a negative impact physiologically (Hendriks, 2008).  However, many people including psychologists have always believed that crying is good for you (Hendriks, 2008).  Perhaps crying  developed evolutionarily for a non-physiological reason.  “Attachment Theory” suggests that crying is a behavior that is natural to humans from birth.  As an infant, babies learn that crying will result in comforting, which creates a relationship bond.  This behavior is continued to create attachments in life (Hendriks, 2008).

Dr. Oren Hasson, a professor at Tel Aviv University, recently conducted a study in which he studied different types of crying and the benefits of crying.  He speculated that the evolutionary advantage of crying comes from crying with your peers.  When you cry, you show vulnerability because your vision is blurred.  This allows someone who cares about you to take care of you while you are in a weakened state. According to Hasson, this is beneficial to both the caretaker and receiver because it creates a stronger relationship bond.  This means that a positive comes out of the negative situation which caused the crying in the first place.

A group of professors at the University of South Florida collected over 3000 personal accounts of crying episodes. These accounts were memories of crying that did not occur in a controlled laboratory setting.  The survey found that about two thirds of the people felt better after crying than they had before.  The people who had been comforted while crying were usually the ones who reported that crying gave them this feeling of relief.  The study also found that testing the affects of crying in a laboratory setting does not produce the same affects.  Cornelius also found that when subjects cried in a formal experiment they often reported feeling worse afterward (Bylsma, 2008). However, this can be explained by the lab setting.  If crying is induced, it will not be accompanied by the same emotional release that it would in real life.  Also, even if the person crying is comforted, it will not have the same value and bonding affect because it is not as genuine.

To understand the effects of crying, it is helpful to understand what happens in our bodies when we cry.  The part of the body that produces tears is called the lacrimal system (Vingerhoets, Cornelius, Van Heck, & Becht, 2000).  The lacrimal system is controlled by the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system.  Together these make up the autonomic nervous system. The lacrimal nucleus is located in the brain stem, and it has connections to many parts of the brain.  One of these is the hypothalamus, which is connected to many emotional systems in the body.  When the lacrimal nucleus is stimulated through one of these connections, it leads to crying (Vinherhoets, et al.,  2000).  While the actual crying is going on, the psychologists at University of South Florida report that lab subjects do not experience a feeling of release.  However, if they are comforted, the emotional benefit of this bonding will create the more positive feeling reported by so many after crying.

So, if you are feeling upset and stressed out, the best thing to do may be to find a friend’s shoulder to have a good cry on.

References

Association for Psychological Science (2008, December 19).  Cry Me a River: The Psychology of Crying.  ScienceDaily.  Retrieved October 11, 2009, from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081217123831.htm

Tel Aviv University (2009, Sept. 7).  Why Cry? Evolutionary Biologists Show Crying Can Strengthen Relationships.  ScienceDaily.  Retrieved October 11, from http://www.sciencedaily.com­/releases/2009/08/090824141045.htm

Vingerhoets, J. J. M., Cornelius, R. R., Van Heck, and Becht.  Adult Crying: A Model and Review of the Literature.  Review of General Psychology 4.4  354-77.

Bylsma, L., Vingerhoets, A., & Rottenberg, J.. (2008). When is crying cathartic? An international study.  Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 27(10), 1165-1187.

Hendriks, M. C. P., Nelson, J. K., Cornelius, R. R. &   Vingerhoets, J. J. M. (2008). Why crying improves our well-being: An attachment-theory perspective on the functions of adult crying.  In  Emotion Regulation, pp. 87-97.  Boston: Springer.

Glasgow, B. (2006) “Lacrimal Excretory System- Human.” Anatomy of the Eye. Mission for Vision, 13.

31 Comments »

  1. One interesting aspect of effect crying has on creating the relationship bond is the way that newborns’ cries can be shaped by their native language. Mampe et al (2009) found that newborns are able to memorize the main intonation patterns of the speech around them and reproduce these intonation patterns in their cries. In that study, the melody contours of French and German newborns were observed. The French newborns produced rising melody and intensity contours; the German babies produced falling contours. Both of these patterns are characteristic of their respective languages. This supports the proposal that babies are able to process certain prosodic speech cues of their mother tongues before they begin talking. This may have evolved in order to establish a stronger attachment bond between parent and offspring.

    Sources:
    Mampe, B., Frederici, A.D., Christophe, A., and Wermke, K. (2009). Newborns’ cry melody is shaped by their native language. Current Biology 19, 1994-1997.

    Comment by Alyssa Alcasabas Pabalan — February 14, 2010 @ 10:51 pm

  2. Although humans are the only animal who have been scientifically proven to cry emotionally, it is quite possible that other animals do cry emotionally. The physiological process of producing tears is called lacrimation. It has been proven (Tyagi, 2007 http://www.biomedres.org/journal/pdf/11.pdf) that the hormone Oxytocin plays an important part in the facilitation of lacrimation in rats. Oxytocin is a hormone that is related primarily to parenting behavior, mother-child bonding, and other emotional relations. Oxytocin’s role in crying in rats could be a coincidence, or it could point towards rats, like humans, having an emotional connotation for crying. If this connection is insignificant (a probable conclusion), then this still points to the question of why rats are capable of lacrimation in the first place. Other than functioning as a way to keep the eye hydrated (Moore, et. al. 1999, http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6WFD-45F4J3T-36&_user=557743&_coverDate=05%2F31%2F2000&_rdoc=1&_fmt=high&_orig=search&_sort=d&_docanchor=&view=c&_searchStrId=1211144042&_rerunOrigin=scholar.google&_acct=C000028458&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=557743&md5=eabb05b4a4b8e4be38a520c3ddeb0eae), it still does seem, as it does with humans, more like a physiological disadvantage than an advantage.

    Comment by Charlotte Gutfreund — February 17, 2010 @ 6:34 pm

  3. This article really interested me because I am a big fan of crying as a way to regroup and rid myself of any feelings of exhaustion. As a kid I was always taught to toughen up and not resort to tears when I fell down or when I didn’t get my way. The only occasions when I did cry were when something terribly sad occurred. As I got older I would get really stressed out and overwhelmed and then I used my tears as a release. However I have never been someone to cry in front of others. This article shows that the benefits of crying are to strengthen a relationship but I have never cried for that benefit. I find that tears are a way to relieve stress and frustration, so I decided to look up a study on those effects of crying.

    After a person cries they have gotten rid of certain hormones. One of these hormones, Adrenocorticotropic is produced when the body feels biological stress. Along with this a person has more mucosal secretion which can contribute to ones feeling that they got rid of stress while they were crying. Along with stress, helplessness is a trigger for crying.
    http://www.helium.com/items/339767-possible-health-benefits-of-crying
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crying
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adrenocorticotropic_hormone

    Comment by Patty Walton — February 22, 2010 @ 9:19 pm

  4. It’s an interesting thought that human beings cry because they need an emotional release from a physical one. Looking at the point brought up about how people need comfort to feel better after crying suggests that people cry to get responses from others, this is very similar to the response parents have to infants who cry. In response to a readers question in Psychology Today, about infants sleeping and crying patterns, Dennis Rosen, discusses how infants cry to create a response from their parents. Just like infants, adults use crying as a sign to others that they need help, and they probably learned this reaction from their early years of comfort from parents. Rosen, mentions how not comforting your child while they are crying can lead to feelings of abandonment and anxiety in the child just like not comforting an adult can lead to unpleasant feelings after crying. I found it interesting that human beings would put themselves in a vulnerable position where they were more at risk of becoming more upset after crying, just to feel some sort of emotional comfort afterwards. I suppose the need for connections that we make as children becomes a part of us for the rest of our lives, and we use crying as a fall back to the consoling that our parents gave us when we were infants. This may further explain the emotional attachments humans have with crying.

    Source: Psychology Today (April 28, 2009), Sleeping Angels, How children’s sleep affects their health and well being. April 28, 2009, Dennis Rosen M.D., http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/sleeping-angels/200904/responding-crying-baby-how-much-is-too-much

    Comment by Samantha Garcia — February 23, 2010 @ 2:48 pm

  5. While crying with other people can certainly be comforting, perhaps the support from other people is not the only benefit or evolutionary purpose of crying. Dr. Kevin Keough discusses recent studies that have been done (http://www.helium.com/items/339767-possible-health-benefits-of-crying) that say tears contain stress hormones in them. Stress hormones can be damaging to almost all parts of the body, particularly brain cells. There are much higher levels of stress in a persons body before they cry. This is evidence that crying likely has some positive physiological effects as opposed to just the psychological ones discussed here.

    Comment by Nikki Aldeborgh — February 25, 2010 @ 12:08 pm

    • Most likely, the lacrimal system developed to ensure good eye health, which would have helped our ancestors hunt. However, at some point in the development of the human species, the lacrimal system became involved in emotional crying. I gathered from this post that most empirical data show that humans cry to attract the comfort of others. However, the hormonal explanation of emotional crying given in comments 3 and 5 makes more sense to me. The lacrimal nucleus is “connected to the hypothalamus,” (Anspach, 2010) which controls the pituitary gland (Meyers, 2012). This suggests that the endocrine system could be involved in emotional crying. Furthermore, in some cases the body might need a process, such as crying, to get rid of excess hormones (Scott, 2010). For example, according to the post (Scott, 2010) “chronic stress causes the body to produce cortisol in a routine manner … these stress responses do not shut themselves off using a negative feedback system.” Perhaps crying occurs as a sort of “emergency response” when certain levels of hormones in the bloodstream are not depleting fast enough.

      References:

      Meyers, D. G. (2012), Psychology in Modules (10th ed.). New York: Worth.

      Anspach, R. (2010, February 9). The benefits of crying. [web log post]. Retrieved from https://intro2psych.wordpress.com/2010/02/09/the-benefits-of-crying/#more-545

      Scott, S. (2010, March 28). Stress, eating, and the college student. [web log post]. Retrieved from https://intro2psych.wordpress.com/2010/03/28/stress-eating-and-the-college-student/

      Comment by Samantha Basch — September 23, 2012 @ 4:04 pm

  6. If we consider crying a result or reflection of our emotions, then it is only natural to assume that when babies cry, it is because they want comforting and human interaction. Indeed, the “Attachment Theory” states that crying was an evolutionary development that facilitated the formation of relationship bonds between baby and parent. However, can we analyze the intonation of a baby’s cry to predict his/her developmental health? In a previous post, we learned that the environment that a baby grows up in (specifically the language its parents speak) will affect the tone of its cry. New evidence found in a study looking at normal, healthy babies compared to babies suspected of autism show marked differences in their cries. The babies that were later diagnosed with autism were shown to have cries with less waveform modulation and more dysphonation (irregular cry segments). Children with autism exhibit emotional detachment and impaired communication, so it is interesting that even as babies, through crying (their only means of communication), they already begin to show signs of communication skills different from their peers.

    Source:
    Esposito, G., & Venuti, P.. (2009). Comparative Analysis of Crying in Children with Autism, Developmental Delays, and Typical Development. Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, 24(4), 240-247. Retrieved March 2, 2010, from ProQuest Psychology Journals. (Document ID: 1904313611).

    Comment by Elaine Cheung — March 2, 2010 @ 7:42 pm

  7. Though people generally accept the idea that crying will make you feel better, it seems as though we’ve all been a little too hasty in our assumptions. Of the 3000 cases of crying reported, one third of the people reported not feeling any better after crying. Also, within the 3000 reported cases, there were a large variety of reasons for which people cried, and not everyone received the same peer/social response after their episodes. So it is difficult to pinpoint exactly what made who feel better, the crying, or the way everyone reacted to crying – because when you think about it, babies cry, and they feel better after doing so because their caretakers rush to comfort them.

    Comment by Daniele Selby — March 3, 2010 @ 8:23 pm

  8. Sylvia Bell and Mary Ainsworth call crying an “attachment behavior” of the “signaling” type in their study of infant cries; since, unlike infants other species, human babies can’t actively preserve physical proximity with their caretakers, they use signaling behaviors in order to strengthen the parent-child bond, and crying is one of the most popular.

    I think that it’s very interesting that the article proposes that crying strengthens emotional bonds because it puts the crier in a vulnerable state; however, it does not address the fact that crying can occur in many emotional contexts, including happy ones. Apparently there are lots of theories that try to deal with the diversity of contexts that crying can occur in, and it will be interesting to see where this research goes in the future.

    http://www.jstor.org/stable/1127506?seq=2
    http://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=MfDEsYSBb-gC&oi=fnd&pg=PR12&dq=adult+crying&ots=ko2IANQ5sb&sig=SernUtTDckeG0C4cCsmrLnrWahE#v=onepage&q=&f=false

    Comment by Heather K — March 3, 2010 @ 10:26 pm

  9. There have always been myths about whether women cry, on average more than men, Dr. William Frey conducted an experiment in which he found out that by the age of 18, women cry 5.3 times a month to men’s 1.4 times.

    The difference can be attributed to hormonal differences as well as the social conventions of society. Men are brought up thinking crying is effeminate and wimpy, and should therefore refrain from crying as much as possible. Another reason that men cry less i think could be vaguely related to Freud’s theory about how young boys tend to associate and imitate their fathers during the phallic stage of life. I Know many of Freud’s theories have now been proved false, but it is certainly something to think about.

    Comment by Rahul Kanade — April 30, 2010 @ 5:29 pm

  10. I have always wondered why a nice solid cry felt so good, and I found Patty and Nikki’s comments to be particularly helpful. What I’d like to know now is the negative physiological effects that Hendriks attributed to crying. Having done some research, I found a Hendriks study that concluded lower crying frequency corresponded to better health. One has to wonder, though, does the subject cry less because he/she is in better health, or vice versa?
    I also found a study about crying during sad films, which I think is an interesting dilemma to investigate. The study found that people who cried during the film felt sadder afterwards than people who did not cry. I am easily moved by films and television, and I think those emotions, because they are brought on by foreign and fictional situations, are fascinating phenomena that should be explored.

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B7581-47W63XG-W4&_user=557743&_coverDate=09%2F30%2F2002&_rdoc=1&_fmt=high&_orig=search&_sort=d&_docanchor=&view=c&_searchStrId=1322875785&_rerunOrigin=google&_acct=C000028458&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=557743&md5=b23ecc7bcf8f69f11dba5eb86f4a8bf0
    M.C.P. Hendriks, M.C. Becht, A.J.J.M. Vingerhoets and G.L. Van Heck, Crying and health. In: A. Fischer, N. Frijda and T. Manstead, Editors, Feelings and Emotions: The Amsterdam Symposium. Symposium Abstracts, Universiteit van Amsterdam, Amsterdam (2001), p. 77.

    J. Rottenberg, J.J. Gross, F.H. Wilhelm, S. Najmi, I.H. Gotlib, Crying in depression: self-reported, behavioral, and autonomic responses. Poster presented at: annual meeting of the Society for Psychophysiological Research; October, 2000; San Diego, CA.

    Comment by Lane Brettschneider — May 4, 2010 @ 10:31 pm

  11. I don’t wholly buy the opinion that crying and tears are meant to put one in a more vulnerable state because in doing so one can build better relationships. This doesn’t really support the ideas of self-defense and the like. We cry for many, many reasons, ranging from fear, to sadness, to happiness. It doesn’t seem like tears would be that helpful in a scary situation, say being trapped by a gigantic bear or something. Actually, it seems like that would do the exact opposite. Crying is obvioulsy a destress signal, but I think we have developed the idea of comfortee and building relationships. Crying seems completely instinctual and I think the true purposes and benefits are other than relationship building.

    Comment by Gary Clauss — May 16, 2010 @ 7:39 pm

    • Agreed, I don’t think that tears were evolved for bonding purposes. Granted, there are times when they can be useful, but often they have a neutral or negative effect on the situation or relationship.

      Comment by Anonymous — May 3, 2012 @ 8:19 pm

  12. I really enjoyed this article because crying often has correlations such as being embarrassed, ashamed, and weak. Upon reflection, crying with close friends does actually strengthen relationships with them by revealing your vulnerable side. This can be hard, but when you cry to someone you trust, I truly believe the relationship gains more depth. Crying around “peers,” however, does not bring relief and comfort. Even if they care about you, and try to comfort you, the correlations listed about often follow this awkward circumstance.

    Comment by 105 student — April 15, 2012 @ 12:02 pm

  13. It seems to me that this post is saying that people feel better after crying as a result of social learning, especially learning that takes place when we are young — we cry, our mother or another family member comes to comfort us, and we feel better. However, some people might not have these types of strong social bonds, and therefore wouldn’t have been conditioned to feel better after being crying.

    However, at the very end of the post it says that subjects reported feeling better after they were comforted, not while crying. It seems then that being comforted produces the result, not crying itself.

    Comment by Adrienne L — April 24, 2012 @ 7:07 pm

  14. Looking back on the recent crying episodes that have taken place both personally and with others around me, I full-heatedly believe that a large proponent for crying is to help build relationships. Relationships are built around trust, and a very simple way trust forms between individuals is when one helps another whilst in a vulnerable state. Although I do believe crying helps build relationships,only during a certain type of crying – thus, I believe there are different types of crying. Sulk-crying is different then scared “in-the-moment” crying, which Mr. Clauss brought up; Crying is different per situation. With that being said, it would be interesting to research what emotions people felt during these different crying situations. Research would need to consist of testing whether similar crying episodes, like witnessing a death, evoke different outcomes than other crying episodes, like during a movie.

    Comment by Evan Kamber — May 3, 2012 @ 7:27 pm

  15. but if your loved one is apart then how to cry on his shoulder and how to stop crying in this thoughts and in his attachement

    Comment by fatima — July 4, 2012 @ 1:49 am

  16. When I was just a toddler I was spanked if I cried. I wish I could cry sometimes but I simply cannot.

    Comment by tom — August 20, 2012 @ 9:00 pm

  17. I am wondering how crying as a positive thing could work into Plutchick’s model of emotion as a chain reaction. In this model, Plutchick proposes that emotions are correlates that may influence other correlates in the loop. He relates brain state to behavior, cognition, physiological state, and facial expression. When one cries, their cognition and brain state is obviously negative, this will then translate into a physiological state that is negative (crying) and behavior that is negative. I am wondering if crying, although may having some beneficial effects on emotion in the end, is really just a product of an emotional feedback loop rather than an adaptive mechanism for handling emotion.

    Comment by Anonymous 105 Student — December 18, 2012 @ 7:07 pm

  18. I definitely think that this is true, because I always feel better after I cry. Even if I am just having a bad day, and don’t have anything specific to cry over, I find that just getting it out makes me feel better. I also find that if I am having trouble falling asleep, crying can help. Sometimes I will get frustrated that I can’t fall asleep, which will lead to crying, and usually the crying will help relax me and make it easier to fall asleep.

    Comment by Heather Ingraham — March 2, 2013 @ 1:21 pm

  19. I don’t mean to come across as cold-hearted but I honestly don’t understand why some people cry all the time. Growing up, crying was discouraged so perhaps the number of times I see other people cry is actually the normal amount. Perhaps it is for this reason that I find the numbers given by Rahul Kanade in comment 9 (women cry 5.3 times a month and men 1.4 times a month), really surprising. Disregarding all the times I must have cried when I was a baby, I feel that 5.3 is more of a yearly figure for me ( or at most twice that). This year I have too many times walked into my room only to find my roommate crying. And I simply do not know what to do. Our relationship has never seen any improvement as a result – but then again that could be because we are not close enough for me to give any comfort and my lack of experience in being comforted myself. That being said, I share the sentiment of many others here, disagreeing with the evolutionary theory that crying increases bonding.

    Comment by Psych 105 Student — March 8, 2013 @ 12:22 am

  20. [...] We’re also the only species that cries emotionally. You know, for a species that’s evolved so much around the core belief of society and acceptance, we certainly are a judgmental bunch. Moving on… [...]

    Pingback by The Art of Crying | Playing with happiness — March 16, 2013 @ 6:16 am

  21. I was compelled to read this article because I cry a lot, and in general regard crying as an expression that makes me feel better. However, I do not feel like this article reached any supported conclusions on the benefits of crying, particularly in light of previous comments. The times where I feel especially lightened after crying are when I have shared my feelings with a very trusted person and been comforted. Trust is key here. I do not like crying around other people and will fight the urge to cry with determination if I am not safe with only a person I trust. I think that crying is all about vulnerability—that only benefits when the person feels safe.

    Comment by Maggie Shepherd — April 13, 2013 @ 9:36 pm

  22. I’m curious to know what the negative impacts of crying are physiologically, and how researchers determine what amounts to physiological ‘release’ as they claim it does not occur. I also thought the theory about crying as a sign of vulnerability due to blurred vision was very interesting. I can see why crying in front of someone displays vulnerability and can increase bonding, but I never thought about it from such a simple and practical view point. In times of hunter gatherers for example, blurred vision causes a very practical vulnerability. It’s interesting that this could have then developed into a social mechanism for bonding. However, I thought the part about only receiving relief from crying when comforted was interesting. I don’t cry often, but I also rarely cry in front of people and don’t like to cry in front of people. Having people around me stops me from feeling comfortable enough to actually cry as hard as I might want to and so I don’t get the same release. Couldn’t it be possible for someone to get the same release from crying alone? Maybe it depends on why someone feels like crying?

    Comment by Eliza Kellman — April 18, 2013 @ 4:44 pm

  23. I don’t typically cry in front of people and find that crying in front of others makes me uncomfortable and stressed and doesn’t give me the same kind of release as crying alone. I’ve always been a big fan of the shower cry. I just don’t feel like i can fully express my emotions when others are watching. Maybe it has something to do with stage fright. For whatever reason, I always feel much more relieved of negative emotions after a private cry rather than a public one. I would go even so far as to say that my feelings of embarrassment after crying in front of someone may temporarily damage that relationship.

    Comment by Mallory Tyler — April 23, 2013 @ 10:28 pm

  24. If crying after a negative stimulus is a learned behavior from childhood, why, then, do people cry when happy? Granted the amount of sadness needed to start crying (in my experience) is less than the extreme exultation needed to cry when happy, it hardly seems likely that this is also a learned behavior. Perhaps it is linked to the relief felt after crying from sadness–it seems that most often, when people cry when they’re happy, it is a result of a very negative situation being averted. Is this form of relief linked to the relief after sad crying? Or is it that in the perceived negative situation, the body was already gearing up to cry, but when the situation was averted, the release of tension triggered the crying instead? It would be a very interesting topic to research, though I’m sure instances of sad crying are far more frequent than relief crying. Collecting data, then, either in a lab setting (which may be unethical if sudden fear then relief is triggered in a subject?) or from personal accounts, would probably be far more difficult.

    Comment by J Byrd — May 10, 2013 @ 1:20 pm

  25. I’m a strong believer in the fact that crying is really helpful. After I cry, I always feel a sense of calmness and it feels like a piece of whatever has been weighing me down has been lifted. It’s nice to see that there are studies that prove this to be true. However the idea of crying in front of others is something I saw as a negative before reading this post. It’s scary to be so vulnerable to an audience but like Haason has concluded, I do see how it can create stronger bonds between people in their relationships. I’m interested though in seeing the other side of this argument and hearing about the negative of crying in front of others.

    Comment by Psych 105 Student — May 20, 2013 @ 4:25 pm

  26. I think it’s worth noting that there are different kinds of tears. There are reflex tears that are excreted when the eye is irritated (cutting an onion), emotional tears and tears brought on by physical injury. Then there are so-called “tears of joy”. I know that these different kinds of crying feel different, but I wonder if they are physically different as well. Perhaps the chemical make-ups of different kinds of tears are different. I think one of the reasons emotional crying is good is because it brings psychological problems to the forefront of your mind and if you talk to someone, you will hopefully deal with them. Crying can be the impetus you need to look inwardly and rectify whatever turmoil brought you to tears. I find it hard to believe that blurred eyes while crying makes people sympathetic/helpful and therefore it is an adaptive trait.

    Comment by Jaylin Remensperger — October 3, 2013 @ 3:36 pm

  27. I do believe that crying often help people relieve their stress by creating a “letting-things-go” kind of feeling, but I also think whether crying is beneficial for a person depends on the “intensity”, the reason or context, and also how the person specifically handle the process of crying. After all, there have been instances in which people who cry too hard chronically become depressed. I don’t think the solution would be crying even more.

    Comment by Ziwen Wang — October 10, 2013 @ 11:07 pm

  28. In general, it takes a lot to make me cry, but when I do, there is nothing that makes me feel better than being embraced and comforted by a friend or family member. After reading this article though, I am beginning to question whether I feel better after crying because of having been comforted by others or because of physically releasing my emotion, in the form of tears. Is it possible that people feel better after crying because after expressing such raw emotion (through crying) they are more likely to be comforted by family and friends? For example, when a baby cries they usually will stop as soon as they are comforted or given what he/she want. This implies that the tears are merely an expression of attention or a desire to be comforted rather than an underlying need to release emotion through tears.

    Comment by Sammy Augenbraun — March 24, 2014 @ 3:00 pm


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