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Humans are unique in shedding tears of sorrow. We do not just cry over our own problems: we seek out sad stories, go to film and the theatre to see Tragedies, and weep in response to music. What led humans to develop such a powerful social signal as tears, and to cultivate great forms of art which have the capacity to arouse us emotionally? Friedrich Nietzsche argued that Dionysian drives and music were essential to the development of Tragedy. Here, the neuropsychiatrist Michael Trimble, using insights from modern neuroscience and evolutionary biology, attempts to understand this fascinating and unique aspect of human nature--Book jacket.
Humans are unique in shedding tears of sorrow. We do not just cry over our own problems: we seek out sad stories, go to film and the theatre to see Tragedies, and weep in response to music. What led humans to develop such a powerful social signal as tears, and to cultivate great forms of art which have the capacity to arouse us emotionally? Friedrich Nietzsche argued that Dionysian drives and music were essential to the development of Tragedy. Here, the neuropsychiatrist Michael Trimble, using insights from modern neuroscience and evolutionary biology, attempts to understand this fascinating and unique aspect of human nature--Book jacket.
Human beings are the only species to have evolved the trait of emotional crying. We weep at tragedies in our lives and in those of others - remarkably even when they are fictional characters in film, opera, music, novels, and theatre. Why have we developed art forms - most powerfully, music - which move us to sadness and tears? This question forms the backdrop to Michael Trimble's discussion of emotional crying, its physiology, and its evolutionary implications. His exploration examines the connections with other distinctively human features: the development of language, self-consciousness, religious practices, and empathy. Neuroanatomy and neurophysiology of the brain have uncovered unique human characteristics; mirror neurones, for example, explain why we unconsciously imitate actions and behaviour. Whereas Nietzsche argued that artistic tragedy was born with the ancient Greeks, Trimble places its origins far earlier. His neurophysiological and evolutionary insights shed fascinating light onto this enigmatic part of our humanity.
Crying has fascinated mankind for millenia. Since ancient times, we have known that emotional tears are a unique human characteristic. Unsurprisingly, over hundreds of years, scholars from different backgrounds have speculated about the origin and functions of human tears. According to Charles Darwin, tears fulfilled no adaptive function. And yet, this seems in sharp contrast to statements in the popular media about the significance of crying. Crying is thought to bring relief and is considered healthy - and withholding tears unhealthy. In addition, tears have been said to inhibit aggression in assaulters and to promote social bonding. Perhaps that could explain why tears have been so important in our evolution. Ad Vingerhoets is one of the few scientists in the world to have studied crying. He examines in Why only humans weep which claims about crying are scientifically tenable - which are fact and which are fiction? Though a psychologist, he doesn't just restrict himself to the current psychological literature, but also explores work in evolutionary biology, neurosciences, theology, art, history, and anthropology to provide an integrated perspective on this complex phenomenon. Written throughout in an academically accessible style, this book is groundbreaking in contributing to a modern scientific understanding of crying. It will have broad appeal to psychologists, psychiatrists, philosophers, biologists, and anthropologists.
Describes research into the psychological and biochemical aspects of crying and examines the role of crying in emotional health
A natural and cultural history of crying probes this phenomenon from every angle, using the work of philosophers, poets, scholars, scientists, anthropologists, and sociologists to trace the changing meaning of tears throughout the years. Reprint.
The hidden brain is the voice in our ear when we make the most important decisions in our lives—but we’re never aware of it. The hidden brain decides whom we fall in love with and whom we hate. It tells us to vote for the white candidate and convict the dark-skinned defendant, to hire the thin woman but pay her less than the man doing the same job. It can direct us to safety when disaster strikes and move us to extraordinary acts of altruism. But it can also be manipulated to turn an ordinary person into a suicide terrorist or a group of bystanders into a mob. In a series of compulsively readable narratives, Shankar Vedantam journeys through the latest discoveries in neuroscience, psychology, and behavioral science to uncover the darkest corner of our minds and its decisive impact on the choices we make as individuals and as a society. Filled with fascinating characters, dramatic storytelling, and cutting-edge science, this is an engrossing exploration of the secrets our brains keep from us—and how they are revealed.

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