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How do tears work?

Discussion in 'Personal' started by ResourceFinder, Mar 5, 2011.

  1. I have just been watching Armageddon and I cried at the end ... I always do ... I have seen this film a dozen or so times and I know which bits will make me cry ... but why do I cry?
     
  2. I have just been watching Armageddon and I cried at the end ... I always do ... I have seen this film a dozen or so times and I know which bits will make me cry ... but why do I cry?
     
  3. 1. I bloody hated that film, but
    2. They don't work for me. I never feel better after crying. My nose and throat hurt, my face puffs up, my eyes turn into red pellets and I feel exhausted. Even if I am emotionally affected by something it tends to manifest as throat-closing-up choking than the fall of tears.
     
  4. I have often wondered what is the purpose of crying.
    I've been told that tears contain toxins and it's your body's way of getting rid of these.
    However I would also like to know what purpose it serves for your face to twist up and turn red. Tears can be explained away: the wind, something in my eye, etc. But that red twisted face is a dead giveaway that your distressed. I hate it.
     
  5. Ouch.
     
  6. tears wash muck away from your eye and keep it lubricated
    but why do we produce more in an emotional state?
     
  7. From http://www.gibbsmagazine.com/CryinLaughing.htm
    First of all, there are really three different types of tears. Basal tears keep our eyes lubricated constantly. Reflex tears are produced when our eyes get irritated, like with onions or when something gets into our eyes. The third kind of tear is produced when the body reacts emotionally to something. Each type of tear contains different amounts of chemical proteins and hormones. Scientists have discovered that the emotional tears contain higher levels of manganese and the hormone prolactin, and this contributes in a reduction of both of these in the body; thus helping to keep depression away. Many people have found that crying actually calms them after being upset, and this is in part due to the chemicals and hormones that are released in the tears. How then actually do we cry? The psychic tears (or emotional tears) require an emotional response, or trigger to be activated. This response can be caused by an outside source, either pain or loss of love, etc., or from an inside source (self-realization of one's life and others). When emotions affect us, the nervous system stimulates the cranial nerve, in the brain and this sends signals to the neurotransmitters to the tear glands. Thus, we cry .The largest tear gland, the lacrimal gland produces the tears of emotion and reflex. Many believe that the body, in times of emotional stress, depends on this gland to release excess amounts of chemicals and hormones, returning it to a stable state.
    I am unconvinced. There would have to be a ton of hormones in those tears to make any difference to the overall body levels of circulating hormones. I can't find anything that says tears contain noradrenaline or cortisol either. ACTH is responsible for producing them and that appears in psychic tears - perhaps as a means of getting rid of it and shutting off production, but I can't believe it would be present in such large amounts in a few tears to make a physiological difference.
    Any biochemists out there?

     
  8. BelleDuJour

    BelleDuJour Star commenter

    yes [​IMG]
     
  9. I have no idea.
    I never used to cry much - now I can cry at the drop of a hat. I cry when I am happy, when I am sad and sometimes just because.
    And it gives me great puffy eyes and a snotty nose and nothing in the world has ever changed.
    Apart from my face.
     
  10. Me too CQ, can't even watch the news without welling up. Pathetic!
     
  11. So a shared lack of knowledge wit a bit f science from Lily (thanks)
    [​IMG]
     
  12. Mangleworzle

    Mangleworzle Star commenter

    I don't cry hardly at all (being manly and butch and stuff). But I've found that as I've got older I get much more emotionally affected by things than I used to. I get the throat tightening, can't speak version, occasionally with watering eyes in extremis, not active crying as in sobbing though.
    Do we get more senstive to about external events as we get older or just worse at controlling ourselves?
     
  13. marshypops

    marshypops New commenter

    You don't need a large amount of hormones circulating to have a huge effect on our bodies.
     
  14. I have no idea - but it is an interesting question.
    I have noticed that my crying has changed - I never ever used to cry, unless I was furious and then I would disappear so that nobody could see. That was just frustration and me being mad at not getting my point across or EVEN WORSE not being taken seriously.
    Now, I never cry when furious. I don't give a toss if taken seriously or not. I know what I know and I know talking to the back a.rse of a donkey will just mean you get s.hite squirted in your face.
    But a Disney film can have me wailing, or something I hear on the news, or reading a book. Ok, not always wailing, but tears, definitely tears.

     
  15. marshypops

    marshypops New commenter

    Perhaps your controls have changed? I know what's in tears but have no idea what triggers them - wish I did it would make my life so much easier.
     
  16. Is that a nice way of saying I am going soft in my old age? [​IMG]
     
  17. Granted, but suggesting that enough of it is diverted to a few tears for a few minutes to make a physiological difference seems unlikely to me.
    There was a study recently that showed that men's testosterone levels fall when they sniff tears from a vial. Perhaps it's a measure to defuse aggression from males? It can't be a protection thing if the male's testosterone falls because he won't be in the best shape to attack an aggressor. That seems to be a pheromone action though, so probably unrelated to stress relief within the woman herself.
    With the sole exception of Sinead O'Connor's beautiful face in the Nothing Compares 2 U video, most women I've seen look bloody hideous whenthey cry - the twisted mouth, horrible noise, the puffy red eyes, the dribbling snot - I wouldn't have thought it would provoke a very positive response from anyone. And in a situation that's causing emotional overload, I'd have thought that being disabled by jerky breathing and impaired eyesight would be frankly a bit of a risk.
     
  18. Prolactin triggers them. It may be why women are more prone to crying than men.
     
  19. marshypops

    marshypops New commenter

    Agreed.
    Not sure about hormonal response and all that but it may be that the prolactin has some kind of feedback mechanism that reduces the amount of hormone released? I'd have to go and read about tears and hormones etc.
     

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