Some animals also cry. However, animals mostly release tears for reasons such as intense pain, and also cry when losing loved ones, seeing their own species being killed for their skin and meat, but these two reasons are mostly rare.
According to the German Society of Ophthalmology, which has collected scientific studies on crying, the average woman cries between 30 and 64 times a year, and the average man cries between 6 and 17 times a year.
A useful term is lachrymation, which means the non-emotional shedding of tears. There are many terms for the more usual crying: sobbing, weeping, wailing, whimpering, bawling, and blubbering.
In general, crying is non-verbal communication. It (and other) facial signals evolved in our species as ways which help people in social groups signal feelings. The term "a cry for help" recognises this function. "Cry for joy" expresses the fact that sometimes great delight can be the trigger for crying.
- Why do we Cry? Walter, Chip. Scientific American Mind; Dec 2006, 17, issue 6, p44. ISSN 1555-2284
- Fischer, Agneta (9 March 2000). Gender and Emotion: Social Psychological Perspectives. ISBN 9780521639866.
- "Frauen und Männer weinen anders [German: Woman and Men Cry Differently]" (PDF). Pressearchiv 2009. Deutsche Ophtalmologische Gesellschaft. October 2009. Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 January 2015. Retrieved 19 January 2015.