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Psychologist decodes “tears of joy”

Yale Medicine Magazine, 2015 - Spring


Why do people emit a nervous laugh in uncomfortable situations? And why are parents who cry at their child’s graduation also more likely to pinch a cute baby’s cheeks? Yale psychologist Oriana R. Aragón, Ph.D. ’14, now understands why people cry when they are happy. “People may be restoring emotional equilibrium with these expressions,” said Aragón, lead author of work published in Psychological Science. “They seem to take place when people are overwhelmed with strong positive emotions, and people who do this seem to recover better from those strong emotions.”