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The Real Reason Humans Cry: The Science of Crying

Stashed in: Facts, Science!, Stress, Emotion, Relationships, Sadness, Awesome, Kardashian, Eyes, Interesting Tidbits

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We cry for other people.

Out of all the species in the animal kingdom, we humans are the only species that actually shed tears in response to emotions (though potentially elephants and gorillas do as well). Other mammals and salt water crocodiles shed what are known as reflex tears to lubricate and protect eyes. 

But why do humans shed emotional tears?

Many scientists believe the theory that crying is a highly evolved behavior that developed in humans as a way to build relationships and strategically reduce conflict with others.

According to evolutionary biologist Oren Hasson, crying compromises one of your most valuable assets as an animal: sight. (Water fills the tear ducts and your vision is impaired.) By putting yourself at this disadvantage, others perceive you as less of a threat.

“By blurring vision, tears lower defenses and reliably function as signals of submission, a cry for help,” Hasson said in an interview with Live Science. “You can show that you are submissive to an attacker and therefore potentially elicit mercy from an enemy, or you can attract sympathy from others and perhaps gain strategic assistance.”

Also, crying physically and emotionally heals stress and sadness. 

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