‘Proof’ that only good people cry
By Roger Dobson
IF YOU’VE ever wept uncontrollably at a film, you probably have a good moral compass, a study claims.
People prone to crying are more likely to give to charity and frown on lying and queue-jumping.
Crying was deplored in Victorian times and is still associated with weakness and vulnerability.
But researchers who carried out experiments with more than 1,000 British men and women concluded: ‘People who cry more easily show stronger disapproval of moral transgressions.’
Questions included ‘how likely is it you are touched to the point of tears when you watch a movie?’
They were then tested on their attitudes to 30 kinds of moral transgressions including lying, false confessions and queuejumping. Those who admitted crying at films were in the group that disliked bad moral behaviour.
Scientists think that crying may trigger altruism and empathy.
One theory is that shedding tears acts as an exclamation mark, to highlight the significance of what we are experiencing and to reinforce moral values.
‘It seems there might be something to the old notion that only good people cry,’ said the study by Denmark’s Aarhus university, revealed in the Social Psychological Bulletin.
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dmg media (UK)