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Why We Cry When We’re Happy

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"Tears of joy."

Photo credit: Shutterstock

Cue the tears.

Some people cry when they see a sparkling engagement ring and hear the words "Will you marry me?" Other people get weepy when they see a bride walking down the aisle, even if it's just in a movie. And for others it happens the moment a soldier surprises his family or is reunited with a pet, or maybe it's seeing a favorite pop star in person.

Why is it that in these happy occasions tears, typically a sign of sadness, are shed?

That's what Yale University psychologists set out to answer.

Photo credit: Shutterstock Photo credit: Shutterstock

Oriana Aragon with the university conducted several studies and believes she can explain the phrase "tears of joy."

“People may be restoring emotional equilibrium with these expressions,” Aragon told YaleNews. “They seem to take place when people are overwhelmed with strong positive emotions, and people who do this seem to recover better from those strong emotions.”

Aragon and her co-authors on the study, which will be published in the journal Psychological Science, measured study participants' responses to seeing cute babies or witnessing reunions. According to Yale, the researchers found that people who had negative reactions to positive events are "able to moderate intense emotions more quickly."

They also suggested that the opposite might be true as well: people might have a seemingly positive response (laughter, for example) to a negative event.

“These insights advance our understanding of how people express and control their emotions, which is importantly related to mental and physical health, the quality of relationships with others and even how well people work together,” Aragon told YaleNews.

(H/T: Daily Mail)

Front page image via Corepics VOF/Shutterstock.

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