General Question

Aesthetic_Mess's avatar

What makes us cry?

Asked by Aesthetic_Mess (7892points) December 7th, 2010

Not the question you think.
I mean, why does our body give that reaction of hyperventilating and producing tears?
We all have different crying “methods” granted, but why do we cry for things? That doesn’t solve anything either.

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12 Answers

marinelife's avatar

“The third kind of tear is produced when the body reacts emotionally to something. Each type of tear contains different amounts of chemical proteins and hormones. Scientists have discovered that the emotional tears contain higher levels of manganese and the hormone prolactin, and this contributes in a reduction of both of these in the body; thus helping to keep depression away. Many people have found that crying actually calms them after being upset, and this is in part due to the chemicals and hormones that are released in the tears.

When emotions affect us, the nervous system stimulates the cranial nerve, in the brain and this sends signals to the neurotransmitters to the tear glands. Thus, we cry .The largest tear gland, the lacrimal gland produces the tears of emotion and reflex. Many believe that the body, in times of emotional stress, depends on this gland to release excess amounts of chemicals and hormones, returning it to a stable state.”

Gibbs Magazine

mattbrowne's avatar

A complex secretomotor phenomenon characterized by the shedding of tears from the lacrimal apparatus which includes a gland, sac, nasolacrimal duct, and lacrimal canaliculi.

JLeslie's avatar

Why did you mention hyperventilitating? I am getting the feeling you are under a lot of emotional stress from the questions you recently asked.

chocolatechip's avatar

@JLeslie Hyperventilating seems to accompany intense crying.

JLeslie's avatar

@chocolatechip I have never had that happen.

Aesthetic_Mess's avatar

@JLeslie You’ve never hyperventilated?

chocolatechip's avatar

@JLeslie I would guess then a mix of anxiety and sadness?

JLeslie's avatar

@Aesthetic_Mess No. I am 42 years old and have had very upsetting things happened to me, and suffered with pretty bad anxiety for a while, but I have never hyperventilated.

roundsquare's avatar

Pure Speculation: I wonder if this is a holdover from being a baby. As a baby, you are vulnerable so the only way to respond to things is to signal to your parents that something is wrong. Crying is what has evolved to meet this requirement. Now, for baby to do something it has to be instinct. When something is instinct, its hard to get rid of. We could try to socialize it out of people as they get older, but since people find it cathardic (in part, maybe, because of the reasons @marinelife and @mattbrowne said) we don’t try to do that.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I don’t know why. But, I do know that the stimulus to cry can simply be the sound of a quaking voice. I listen to NPR and on Fridays they play selected interviews from StoryCorp.
Some adult child will ask their parent how they met, or why the didn’t divorce, or what they were doing on a certain important day. Someone’s voice will crack at an emotional point and my eyes tear up automatically.
That’s a dangerous reaction when driving to a meeting.

Aster's avatar

I tend to tear up and even cry when I see others do it.

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