• Question: Why do we cry?(Why is it that when we're really sad we start crying?)

    Asked by z3094 to Adam, Sinead on 22 Nov 2013.
    • Photo: Sinead Cullen

      Sinead Cullen answered on 22 Nov 2013:


      So there is mainly three different reasons why we have tears,the first type are called Basal tears, these are a type of tear that stops our eyes from drying out. If there is not enough of these tears produced then people have to get things like Optrex eye mist for dry eyes.

      There is a second type of tear called reflex tears, these are the type of tears that protect your eyes from things like dusty wind, like when you are out for walk on a windy day and there is a gust of wind, I know my eyes start to water but that is my bodies way of protecting my eyes against the dust from getting into them. Or like the reason some people cry when they are cutting onions.

      The third type of tear is the one that happens when we are sad. These are called emotional tears. This happens when a part of our brain registers us feeling sad. The part of our brain that is responsible for our emotions is called the cerebrum. So when we feel sad our brain registers this and sends hormones through our system to our tears ducts and that causes us to cry.
      Scientists think that there is a lot more hormones in these type of tears compared to the other types which are mainly water.

      I am a bit of a crier at sad movies, and weddings so there is nothing wrong with having a good cry.

      Hope this helps 🙂

    • Photo: Adam Murphy

      Adam Murphy answered on 22 Nov 2013:

      Hey, so I went looking to read up on all the reasons why people cry. The best answer seems to be that scientists have no idea.

      There are a few theories as to why though.

      The biggest one is that it’s how our bodies react to feeling helpless. When we can’t do anything to affect a thing we react by crying. There’s nothing we can do at a funeral, so we cry. And when we get really good news, there’s still nothing we can do to change anything, so we cry too!

      There’s also the idea that it’s a social thing, we all cry when we’re sad about something, and it helps us to feel united about something, so it’s easier to deal with!

      Then there’s the medieval idea that it was extra brain fluid coming out of your eyes. But they had a lot of mad ideas like that!