New Theory for Why We Cry
September 24, 2009
People shed tears when in pain, but what purpose does crying have? A scientist now proposes a new theory for why crying evolved -- tears can act as handicaps to show you have lowered your defenses. By blurring vision, tears reliably function as signals of submission and a cry for help.
The shedding of tears due to emotions is unique to humans. In the past, researchers suggested that crying helps carry stressful chemicals away from the body, or that it lets babies signal health problems.
But when tears blur vision, they can readily handicap aggressive behavior. As such, tears signal vulnerability, a strategy that can emotionally bind others closer to you. The use of tears could be to build and strengthen personal relationships.