Israeli Study: Real Reason We Cry – Has Nothing to Do With Our Emotions


cryingEver wonder why we cry? Is it purely a way to express pain, grief or even extreme happiness? Or perhaps shedding a few tears could be a strategic way to bring others closer to us?

According to a new study,  Oren Hasson, Ph.D., a biologist at Tel Aviv University in Israel concluded that tears have evolved as a sign of vulnerability. He takes his research one step further, suggesting this vulnerability can be an effective strategy in bonding people closer together.

Dr. Hasson notes that by blurring one’s vision tears lower defenses, thereby handicapping aggressors and evolving into a sign of submission. For example, by sharing tears with others he notes you can show that you are submissive to an attacker. It may induce mercy from an enemy, posits Hasson. Plus, you may attract sympathy from others in an effort to be on the same playing field. This strategy, he says, can emotionally bind others to you in a strategic alliance.

This new theory comes in contrast to past research which suggested that shedding tears helps carry stressful chemicals away from the body. Although pain or chemicals may be controlled with medical intervention, holding back tears isn’t as easy. “Pain is something people feel in their brains. We can shut off pain with medication but we can’t shut off crying,” note Eric R. Braverman, M.D., director of the PATH Medical Center and PATH Foundation and author of “The Edge Effect: Achieve Total Health and Longevity with the Balanced Brain Advantage”.

“It’s innovative and points out something we really haven’t thought about in that way,” notes Dr. Thom E Lobe, M.D, and founder and director of the Beneveda Medical Group in Beverly Hills, CA. “The research points out emotions as important clues [as to] how humans interact.” Essentially, the research demonstrates that we communicate non-verbally. He adds, “Laughing and crying are very similar. They are part of human nature and how we’re wired. They’re a tremendous catharsis.” Dr. Lobe agrees with notions in the research that tears may bring people closer via a hug or even trying to calm the other person down. “When you’re crying you send off non-verbal signals that something’s going on,” he says. He notes the other person typically stops what they’re doing to help the other person whose defenses are down.

There are certain settings where tears aren’t the most appropriate way of bonding, such as the office. However, If Dr. Hasson assertions are correct, then embracing a good cry may well help you embrace others.

{AOL Health/Noam Newscenter}


  1. “It may induce mercy”

    Don’t need a study for that:

    “Tomachti yeseidosai b’shelosh esrei teivos,
    u’ve’sha’arei dima’os ki lo nishlavos.”

    -from Ne’ilah

  2. He should also spend millions on making a study why we cry when cutting onions. This may be connected to other types of crying…. vehr veist vus noch?