• Question: Why do we cry?

    Asked by bieberrocksduh to Daphne, Darren, Jon, Katherine on 21 Mar 2012.
    • Photo: Katherine Haxton

      Katherine Haxton answered on 21 Mar 2012:

      Some scientists think that crying is a response to pain, either physical or emotional. Other scientists have a theory that crying relieves stress by reducing the hormones in the body that are associated with stress. I like that theory because it means that a good cry might actually be a useful and reasonable response to stress. That would remove some of the stigma associated with people who end up in tears in public.

    • Photo: Darren Logan

      Darren Logan answered on 21 Mar 2012:

      Recently some scientists reported that the “smell” of a woman’s tears reduces a man’s sexual interest in her. Its quite a controversial finding and needs more work before it will be widely accepted. But if it is true then it might suggest that tears evolved as a chemical signal to other members of our social group.

    • Photo: Daphne Ng

      Daphne Ng answered on 22 Mar 2012:

      We also cry out of joy and when we feel touched (that’s why people cry at weddings). So it’s not just out of sadness and pain.

      I think that tears act as a physical signal to other humans that we are experiencing extreme emotions. If the research that Darren has shown is true, then tears also contain chemical messages that other humans can pick up.