Why We Cry

April 27, 2009 at 10:17 am (By Amba)

To communicate … and perhaps to manipulate, says John Tierney of the New York Times, reporting on recent research:

“Emotional tears are a breakthrough in the evolution of humans as a social species,” says Dr. [Robert] Provine, a neuroscientist at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County … in Evolutionary Psychology (pdf).


  1. realpc said,

    Oh I don’t know. We probably cry more when no one is watching, so how can it be for communication?

  2. chickenlittle said,

    Exactly realpc.

    I too find little substance here explaining why we cry, but I expect such a conclusion would be supported by experiments inducing someone to actually cry. I’m not saying it’s a crappy study, but just one perhaps better titled: “Tears Change How We Are Perceived.” :)

  3. samnangp said,

    Emotional tears… of course, leaving out the prcatice cleansing the eye of irritants, crying’s only purpose would be to convey extremes of emotions such as sorrow/pain or joy.

    How did we “evolve” such a thing and then somehow transfer that ability into our offspring?

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