why do we get tears when we cry

My mom, sisters, and many female friends are addicted to the show
This is Us. When it s about to air one of them usually posts something to their social media like, Better get the tissues ready. Of course, I myself avoid the show like a plague ravaged raccoon. But it got me thinking about this sadness-induced physical response. We can cry out of sadness, fear, frustration, anger, or even joy. But why do streams of liquid leave our eyes? The truth is no one really knows for sure. That is to say, scientists don t agree why tears stream down our cheeks and we re wracked with spasms, and of course the telltale that comprise having a full-blown cry. There s also great variety among humans. We all have a different threshold for the act. In a scientific sense, we re the only organisms who tear up due to our emotions. Other creatures do so merely to remove irritants from their eyes. Many psychologists believe that in addition to giving us an outlet for a rapid buildup of a powerful emotions, that we re in distress. Care-taking at times of great stress can increase the bonds between individuals in a group, making them more in tune with one another, better able to communicate and understand each other, increasing teamwork among them and so their likelihood of survival. Crying may be a social cue for support, which can in turn lead to more social cohesion. Getty Images. Children and infants cry to and have their needs met. Biochemist William H. Frey, PhD in the 1980s studied crying and tears. He found that on average, while men cry 1. 3 times in that same time period. There may be a biological reason behind this. The hormone prolactin is thought to promote crying. This is found at higher levels in women. While testosterone may dampen the act. Crying is different in different cultures as well. In a 2011 study published in the journal, investigators looked at 35 different countries to see how often women cried. Richer countries such as the US, Sweden, and Chile saw slightly higher rates of female crying, over poorer ones such as Nepal, Ghana, and Nigeria.


Researchers believe it s because there s greater freedom of expression in developed countries. One s attachment style also plays a role. Dismissive attachment styles, those people who avoid or distrust intimacy, are the most likely to try not to cry, or fight back tears. Those with insecure attachment, the needy, may cry inappropriately, such as going into histrionics in order to receive attention. While those with secure attachment style are the most likely to cry appropriately and naturally. Women cry more often than men, and women from richer countries more often than poorer ones. Getty Images. Some studies have looked into how children and others use tears as a form of manipulation. A child may cry in the presence of an angry mother to induce sympathy and try to get out of trouble. This could also be one reason why crying is often part of lovers' spats. A small study found that female tears can actually lower male sex drive and temper male aggression. Another interesting find is that tears formed from different emotions actually contain different chemical makeups. Emotional tears contain more protein which is thought to make them thicker and so more likely to slip down slowly, causing streaks down the cheeks, which are easily noticed by others. It s a call for support and empathy. Along those same lines, artist took tears shed from different emotions and photographed them under a microscope. The results are fascinating though not wholly scientific. Meanwhile, scientists are turning their lenses on to those who don t cry. Though we re often think a good cry is a healthy catharsis, there s actually no evidence to back this up. Some psychologists however, believe that bottling up such emotions might lead to feelings of anger later on while some scientists see crying as a way to shed the hormone cortisol from the body, ejecting it with the tears themselves.


To learn more about the science behind crying, watch this: This is an article from, a series for children. The Conversation is asking kids to send in questions theyБd like an expert to answer. All questions are welcome Б serious, weird or wacky! Why do tears come out of our eyes when we cry? Б Grace, age 9, Melbourne Hi Grace, thank you for a great question. We cry, or make tears,. First, we need tears to keep our eye healthy, so you can say that our eyes cry a little bit all through the day. These types of tears usually donБt come out of our eyes. Tears do come out of our eyes when we are emotional Б either very sad or happy Б or when our eyes are irritated by something, like a bit of dust that gets into our eyes or when we cut an onion. Tears are needed for our eyes to work properly. Your eye has special parts Б called glands Б that make tears all day. Normally they only produce a tiny amount of tears Б less than half a teaspoon per day. Tears are mostly water and a little bit of salt, but they also have some oil, mucus and chemicals called enzymes that kill germs. A small amount of oil in tears stops them from evaporating or leaking out of our eyes. If we didnБt have oil in our tears, it would make our eyes really dry and sore. When you blink, the eyelid spreads the tears around your eye and mucus helps the tears stick to the eyeball. Any tears left over drain through a special drainage system that goes through to your nose. When we cry Б and I hope you donБt cry too often Б we make more tears than the eye can hold. This is because the largest tear gland can switch on and produce a lot of tears at once, just like a little fountain. Read more: The part of the brain that switches on the Бtear fountainБ receives signals from the part of your brain that controls your emotions. When this happens, the eye can produce more than half a cup of tears in minutes.


This is way too much for the eye to hold and our drainage system goes to work. Remember that this drainage system goes to our noses? ThatБs why when you cry you may notice your nose starts running. These are these extra tears. If you cry really hard, then there are far too many tears even for that drainage system to remove, so the tears start falling out of our eyes. According to psychologists, only humans cry as an emotional response. , Psychologists believe that crying because of emotions is something only humans do. Most of us cry sometimes because we are really sad. Some of us also cry when we are happy. We havenБt figured out exactly why we cry when we are emotional, but we do know that the chemicals found in emotional tears are. Some scientists believe that these chemicals. Read more: There are also some strange conditions that can make people cry. Some people cry when they eat or even just think about food. This is called. It is named that said crocodiles pretend to cry to trick their prey into coming closer to them. Crocodile tears syndrome may happen after someone has been in an accident and broken some bones in their face. As the face heals, some body parts called nerves repair themselves in the wrong way. Nerves that made your mouth water when you smell good food get mistakenly connected to the tear gland instead. Afterwards when that person eats or smells something delicious that makes their mouth water, they start to cry. Hello, curious kids! Have you got a question youБd like an expert to answer? Ask an adult to send your question to us. You can: * Email your question to curiouskids@theconversation. edu. au * Tell us on by tagging with the hashtag #curiouskids, or * Tell us on Please tell us your name, age and which city you live in. You can send an audio recording of your question too, if you want. Send as many questions as you like! We wonБt be able to answer every question but we will do our best.

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