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Why Only Humans WeepUnravelling the mysteries of tears$
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Ad Vingerhoets

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780198570240

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198570240.001.0001

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Culture and crying

Culture and crying

Chapter:
(p.139) Chapter 8 Culture and crying
Source:
Why Only Humans Weep
Author(s):

Ad Vingerhoets

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198570240.003.0008

This chapter shows how culture may influence crying. For a good understanding of the effects of culture on crying, a distinction must be made between crying in intimate settings and crying in public settings. Intimate crying is probably very similar among cultures, while substantial cultural differences can be observed in public crying, for example in ritual crying, public confessions, etc. Alternatives to public weeping (lamenting, singing) are also briefly discussed. The chapter further presents findings from the International Study on Adult Crying (ISAC), in which data were collected in 37 countries. Associations were found between crying frequency and country characteristics such as wealth, freedom to express, but also mean annual temperature. In addition, antecedents of crying and self reported mood improvement after crying were compared. In particular public crying events differed among countries and mood improvement was more reported in the more feminine and wealthier countries, where the crying frequency also was rather high. Finally, the data suggested that women’s liberation, if anything, seems to enlarge the differences in crying frequency between the genders, rather than to reduce it.

Keywords:   culture, ritual weeping, country characteristics, display rules, universalism, relativism, infant crying, grief, commotion model, lamenting, international study

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