1 of 2
1
Why do only humans cry tears
Posted: 01 October 2015 04:13 PM   [ Ignore ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  7751
Joined  2009-02-26

I just listened to Obama’s speech on the recent mass murder and found myself crying tears from empathy.

This made me reflect on the common ability of humans to cry tears from emotion, in addition to cleansing and lubrication.

What purpose do tears serve?

However, in his new book, Why Only Humans Weep, Vingerhoets argues that none of these explanations is sufficient. Although crying has been documented in apes, elephants and even camels, it seems that only humans produce emotional tears, and it is only in humans that crying behaviours persist into adulthood. The challenge is to explain why this should be so, given that tears also run the risk of signalling our presence to predators. 

http://www.theguardian.com/science/2013/apr/14/why-do-humans-cry-biology

 Signature 

Art is the creation of that which evokes an emotional response, leading to thoughts of the noblest kind.
W4U

Profile
 
 
Posted: 02 October 2015 06:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4253
Joined  2014-06-20
Write4U - 01 October 2015 04:13 PM

I just listened to Obama’s speech on the recent mass murder and found myself crying tears from empathy.

This made me reflect on the common ability of humans to cry tears from emotion, in addition to cleansing and lubrication.

What purpose do tears serve?

However, in his new book, Why Only Humans Weep, Vingerhoets argues that none of these explanations is sufficient. Although crying has been documented in apes, elephants and even camels, it seems that only humans produce emotional tears, and it is only in humans that crying behaviours persist into adulthood. The challenge is to explain why this should be so, given that tears also run the risk of signalling our presence to predators. 

http://www.theguardian.com/science/2013/apr/14/why-do-humans-cry-biology

They apparently relieve tension, at least temporarily.

Lois

 Signature 

[color=red“Nothing is so good as it seems beforehand.”
― George Eliot, Silas Marner[/color]

Profile
 
 
Posted: 10 January 2016 07:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  244
Joined  2015-12-10

Perhaps humans value human life more than other species value the life of their species.
I hypothesize that the ability to value a wide variety of things, this is a categorical and mathematical function, over time is the essence of differentiation in human consciousness over animals.

 Signature 

By expanding knowledge of the real, reduce the environmental footprint of of ignorance…in any and every way you most desire.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 10 January 2016 09:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4253
Joined  2014-06-20

http://news.discovery.com/animals/zoo-animals/do-animals-cry-130917.htm

Apparently, elephants do and it seems to be connected to emotion.

 Signature 

[color=red“Nothing is so good as it seems beforehand.”
― George Eliot, Silas Marner[/color]

Profile
 
 
Posted: 11 January 2016 03:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  5257
Joined  2011-11-04

This is a question in which a hypothesis does not immediately come to mind, aka, “good question”.

 Signature 

As a fabrication of our own consciousness, our assignations of meaning are no less “real”, but since humans and the fabrications of our consciousness are routinely fraught with error, it makes sense, to me, to, sometimes, question such fabrications.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 12 January 2016 11:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  5257
Joined  2011-11-04

If it is the case that both elephants and humans cry emotional tears, why is this?

Here is a hypothesis: 1st consider that elephants are among the most social of creatures in their development. http://elephant.elehost.com/About_Elephants/Life_Cycles/Baby/baby.html
Also, consider that elephant’s period of post natal brain development is long.  Human post natal brain development is long.

Perhaps there is some similar neurological mechanism present in highly (developmentally) social creatures that is involved in crying tears of emotion.

Still why would this have evolved in highly developmentally social creatures?  Perhaps it is a part of the same neurological processes that make complex verbal behavior an integral function in such creatures.  (Land creatures, anyway.  I don’t suppose dolphins shed emotional tears.  Or maybe they do, and that is where the oceans come from… Just kidding.)

[ Edited: 12 January 2016 11:57 AM by TimB ]
 Signature 

As a fabrication of our own consciousness, our assignations of meaning are no less “real”, but since humans and the fabrications of our consciousness are routinely fraught with error, it makes sense, to me, to, sometimes, question such fabrications.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 14 January 2016 09:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  6516
Joined  2010-08-15
JSmith - 10 January 2016 07:55 PM

Perhaps humans value human life more than other species value the life of their species.
I hypothesize that the ability to value a wide variety of things, this is a categorical and mathematical function, over time is the essence of differentiation in human consciousness over animals.

Isn’t it more a matter of humans being aware of death.
I started that sentence, that humans are the only species aware of their own mortality, but how do we know.
The heartbreaking chimpanzee mom holding on to her dead child for days, elephants and now I found this article that adds a few new ones.
http://www.care2.com/causes/4-animals-who-mourn-their-dead.html


I agree with you that it’s probably more a matter of degrees, than any unique human threshold.
We are simply capable of comprehending so much more of the world and our own lives.

 Signature 

We need each other, to keep ourselves honest

Profile
 
 
Posted: 15 January 2016 11:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  5506
Joined  2008-08-14
citizenschallenge.pm - 14 January 2016 09:54 PM

Isn’t it more a matter of humans being aware of death.
I started that sentence, that humans are the only species aware of their own mortality, but how do we know.
The heartbreaking chimpanzee mom holding on to her dead child for days, elephants and now I found this article that adds a few new ones.
http://www.care2.com/causes/4-animals-who-mourn-their-dead.html


I agree with you that it’s probably more a matter of degrees, than any unique human threshold.
We are simply capable of comprehending so much more of the world and our own lives.

Interesting CC, but we can differentiate between a sentient creature being aware of “mortality” and being aware of their own mortality.

Having said that, It’s possible that chimps are aware of their own mortality. Who knows?
Actually fight or flight is ingrained and that would be a definite pre-cursor if you will. That’s a stretch.

But the hardware is ingrained to avoid death. How far this translates into an advanced consciousness is questionable. ie..aware of own mortality.
It wouldn’t surprise me if other primates or other mammals had this….but it’s still a stretch.

I got a feeling they’re gonna figure this out though.

 Signature 

Now with 20% more surfactants!

Profile
 
 
Posted: 15 January 2016 12:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  7751
Joined  2009-02-26

I wonder if crying is related to the *sense of loss*

“we cry for that which was once our delight* ,  Kahlil Gibran

 Signature 

Art is the creation of that which evokes an emotional response, leading to thoughts of the noblest kind.
W4U

Profile
 
 
Posted: 15 January 2016 05:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  5257
Joined  2011-11-04

Now that John Boehner has more free time, he could be an excellent subject for research in this matter.

 Signature 

As a fabrication of our own consciousness, our assignations of meaning are no less “real”, but since humans and the fabrications of our consciousness are routinely fraught with error, it makes sense, to me, to, sometimes, question such fabrications.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 15 January 2016 11:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4253
Joined  2014-06-20

Crying is seldom voluntary. We cry when we can’t help ourselves. It creates an emotional release. It may even be an evolutionary advantage.

Lois

 Signature 

[color=red“Nothing is so good as it seems beforehand.”
― George Eliot, Silas Marner[/color]

Profile
 
 
Posted: 16 January 2016 12:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  7751
Joined  2009-02-26
LoisL - 15 January 2016 11:06 PM

Crying is seldom voluntary. We cry when we can’t help ourselves. It creates an emotional release. It may even be an evolutionary advantage. Lois

From the perspective of the mirror neural network you may be right. When we see someone cry (even as we don’t know the cause), our MNN always triggers a feeling of empathy. We *know* that person has experienced a traumatic episode and is mentally suffering.  We even cry watching a *good* drama in theatre or even tv. That is very sophisticated MNN processing.

But I am sure, you are right that it must be a form of emotional release, perhaps even sharing.
But sometimes we “laugh to the point of crying”. Extreme emotions of Joy or Sorrow resulting in crying.
Now is’nt that ironic?

[ Edited: 16 January 2016 12:51 AM by Write4U ]
 Signature 

Art is the creation of that which evokes an emotional response, leading to thoughts of the noblest kind.
W4U

Profile
 
 
Posted: 16 January 2016 02:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  7751
Joined  2009-02-26

And there is always the;

Pseudobulbar affect (PBA), emotional lability, labile affect, or emotional incontinence refers to a neurologic disorder characterized by involuntary crying or uncontrollable episodes of crying and/or laughing, or other emotional displays

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pseudobulbar_affect

 Signature 

Art is the creation of that which evokes an emotional response, leading to thoughts of the noblest kind.
W4U

Profile
 
 
Posted: 16 January 2016 05:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4253
Joined  2014-06-20
Write4U - 16 January 2016 12:41 AM
LoisL - 15 January 2016 11:06 PM

Crying is seldom voluntary. We cry when we can’t help ourselves. It creates an emotional release. It may even be an evolutionary advantage. Lois

From the perspective of the mirror neural network you may be right. When we see someone cry (even as we don’t know the cause), our MNN always triggers a feeling of empathy. We *know* that person has experienced a traumatic episode and is mentally suffering.  We even cry watching a *good* drama in theatre or even tv. That is very sophisticated MNN processing.

But I am sure, you are right that it must be a form of emotional release, perhaps even sharing.
But sometimes we “laugh to the point of crying”. Extreme emotions of Joy or Sorrow resulting in crying.
Now is’nt that ironic?

Emotions other than sadness or loss can trigger a physiological response—tearing.  So can dust in our eyes or a cold or allergies, which have nothing to do with emotion.

[ Edited: 16 January 2016 10:21 AM by LoisL ]
 Signature 

[color=red“Nothing is so good as it seems beforehand.”
― George Eliot, Silas Marner[/color]

Profile
 
 
Posted: 16 January 2016 08:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  6516
Joined  2010-08-15
TimB - 15 January 2016 05:57 PM

Now that John Boehner has more free time, he could be an excellent subject for research in this matter.

That’s low.
Now I gotta clean the coffee off my laptop.

LOL

 Signature 

We need each other, to keep ourselves honest

Profile
 
 
Posted: 16 January 2016 07:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  5257
Joined  2011-11-04
LoisL - 16 January 2016 05:08 AM
Write4U - 16 January 2016 12:41 AM
LoisL - 15 January 2016 11:06 PM

Crying is seldom voluntary. We cry when we can’t help ourselves. It creates an emotional release. It may even be an evolutionary advantage. Lois

From the perspective of the mirror neural network you may be right. When we see someone cry (even as we don’t know the cause), our MNN always triggers a feeling of empathy. We *know* that person has experienced a traumatic episode and is mentally suffering.  We even cry watching a *good* drama in theatre or even tv. That is very sophisticated MNN processing.

But I am sure, you are right that it must be a form of emotional release, perhaps even sharing.
But sometimes we “laugh to the point of crying”. Extreme emotions of Joy or Sorrow resulting in crying.
Now is’nt that ironic?

Emotions other than sadness or loss can trigger a physiological response—tearing.  So can dust in our eyes or a cold or allergies, which have nothing to do with emotion.

The chemical composition of emotional tears is said to be quite different than lubricating and allergy produced tears.  It is said that the chemicals released with emotional tears may result in physiological benefit for the individual.  Look it up.

[ Edited: 16 January 2016 07:35 PM by TimB ]
 Signature 

As a fabrication of our own consciousness, our assignations of meaning are no less “real”, but since humans and the fabrications of our consciousness are routinely fraught with error, it makes sense, to me, to, sometimes, question such fabrications.

Profile
 
 
   
1 of 2
1