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Why do we cry?

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Elisa Militaru.

Crying could have both interpersonal and intrapersonal benefits. The interpersonal benefits are obvious: crying can engender sympathy in others and signal that we need help. Another supposed function of crying, however, is that it facilitates our recovery after distress. That is, crying might sedate, reduce pain, and restore one’s homeostatic balance. In this talk I will present research from the UQ Social Neuroscience Lab that investigated these functions. The findings from these lines of research suggest that any intrapersonal benefits of crying are probably small, if they exist at all. The effects of crying on others are far more robust, although such effects may be moderated by gender.

Eric joined the School of Psychology at University of Queensland in 2007 after holding academic positions in several American universities. His research interests include the social neuroscience of emotion, social media, robotics, and racial prejudice. His work on unconscious bias displayed via psychophysiological measures was among a few early studies that laid the groundwork for research on implicit measures.

This talk is part of the Social Psychology Seminar Series (SPSS) series.

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