Crying 'strengthens relationships'


Researchers at Tel Aviv University have found that tears not only still signal physiological distress, but they also function as an evolution-based mechanism to bring people closer, the 'Evolutionary Psychology' journal reported.
"Crying is a highly evolved behaviour. Tears give clues and reliable information about submission, needs and social attachments between one another.
"Tears lower defences and reliably function as signals of submission, a cry for help, and even in a mutual display of attachment and as a group display of cohesion," according to lead researcher Oren Hasson.
In their study, the researchers investigated different kinds of tears people shed -- tears of joy, sadness and grief -- as well as the authenticity or sincerity of the tears in various emotional and social circumstances.
Tears are used to elicit mercy from an antagonistic enemy. They are also useful in eliciting the sympathy -- and perhaps more importantly the strategic assistance -- of people who were not part of the enemy group, they said.
"This is strictly human. Emotional tears also signal appeasement, a need for attachment in times of grief, and a validation of emotions among family, friends and members of a group.
"Crying enhances attachments and friendships. Of course, the efficacy of this evolutionary behaviour always depends on who you're with when you cry those buckets of tears, and it probably won't be effective in places, like at work, when emotions should be hidden," Hasson said.

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