MadSci Network: Medicine

Re: Why do people cry for emotional reasons?

Date: Mon Mar 13 15:01:18 2000
Posted By: Daniel Fletcher, Anthropologist, Pre-Med.
Area of science: Medicine
ID: 952620781.Me

In my opinion people cry due to emotional pain bacause the mind does not 
differentiate between physical pain and emotional pain. Despite the moral 
dictations of our German and English culture which prohibits displaying 
emotions such as fear and grief, our minds still feel it and display it 
physically. In fact, I believe crying happens more often in association 
with emotional responses than with physical pain.
As a baby incapable of actually shouting for help, human infants have but 
one automatic reponse that communicates need or distress : Crying.
There are three basic physical reponses to stress/threat :
Fight, Flight and Cry. These are automatic neotonous responses that all 
humans posess. When your brain gets scared or determines loss or threat of 
death or some other bad news, it activates the automatic stress response 
center in your brain. You get mad, you run, you cry, or all three at once.
These reactions would have given early man a better chance of survival. 
Running from the threat, calling for help (crying) or fighting the threat.
These are basic answers and you might have wanted more specific 
explanations, but when you get down to the basics, this is pretty much all 
there is.

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