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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.
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.
Describes research into the psychological and biochemical aspects of crying and examines the role of crying in emotional health
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