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This contribution describes the current state-of-the-art of the scientific literature regarding the self-soothing effects of crying.Starting from the general hypothesis that crying is a self-soothing behavior, we consider different mechanisms through which these effects may appear.From the perspective of attachment theory, crying is viewed as an appeal for the presence and attention of the caregiver (Nelson, 2008). More recent hypotheses on the functions of human crying (see Walter, 2006; Hasson, 2009; Trimble, 2012; Vingerhoets, 2013) emphasize that crying (and especially visible tears, because only their effects have been investigated) promotes empathy and prosocial behavior, including stimulation of caregiving and protective responses from others, facilitates social bonding, and reduces inter-personal aggression. Recent research has indeed shown that visible tears have a considerable impact on the evaluation of a human face, the identified need for support, and the self-reported willingness to provide assistance and comfort of observers (Hendriks et al., 2008a; Provine et al., 2009), even at the automatic, pre-attentive level (Balsters et al., 2013). On the other hand, in particular acoustical crying (of infants) may also elicit anger, irritation, frustration, and even aggression from others (Vingerhoets, 2013). Paper Presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Psychosomatic Society, Santa Fe, NM (abstracted in Psychosomatic Medicine, 59, 92–93). The current contribution provides a state-of-the-art overview of the scientific literature regarding self-soothing effects of crying and presents specific hypotheses concerning the determinants of these effects and the putative involved mechanisms. We start with the definition of crying and description of its intra- and inter-individual functions, which is followed by a brief reflection on the concept of self-soothing, how it can be defined, and how it relates to several kindred concepts.
To provide access without cookies would require the site to create a new session for every page you visit, which slows the system down to an unacceptable level.This site stores nothing other than an automatically generated session ID in the cookie; no other information is captured.In general, only the information that you provide, or the choices you make while visiting a web site, can be stored in a cookie.We try to explain the possible sources of these variations, ranging from crier characteristics, crying antecedents, the manifestations of crying, and reactions of others, to important methodological issues.
Subsequently, in the central part of our paper, the focus is on our main hypothesis that crying also directly results in mood enhancement and promotes return to homeostasis. Assessing the reliability of change: a comparison of two measures of adult attachment.
We then provide theoretical and empirical support for our general hypothesis that crying is a self-soothing behavior by presenting and evaluating the possible physiological, cognitive, and behavioral mechanisms that may play a mediating role in the relationship between crying and homeostatic regulation that includes mood improvement and relief. doi: 10.1037/0033-295X.96.3.395 Pubmed Abstract | Pubmed Full Text | Cross Ref Full Text © 2014 Gračcanin, Bylsma and Vingerhoets.