by Rachel Anspach
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.