Study Shows That People Who Cry During Movies Are Emotionally Stronger

year ago

Stories like Hachi: A Dog’s Tale, or The Notebook, have caused many to grab the tissue box at least once. However, a lot of people believe that crying during movies is nothing but a sign of weakness. Well, guess what, that thought couldn’t be more wrong! Paul J. Zak, a neuroeconomist at Claremont Graduate University, conducted a study in which he affirms that those who cry during movies are more empathetic, they know how to handle their emotions better, and they are stronger when facing daily challenges.

We at Bright Side love stories that inspire empathy and compassion, so we would like to explain to you what really happens when a person cries during a movie, and why it makes them stronger.

1. They realize that these stories are fictional, but they can’t keep their feelings inside.

Zak says that, cognitively speaking, although they know that the movie is not real and the story they see on the screen is fictional, it’s still inevitable that they will cry when they see a very emotional scene.

2. Oxytocin is the one to blame.

This hormone acts as a neurotransmitter and it’s responsible for what we feel when we witness a touching scene. We connect a story, to a feeling, and, later, to a positive action. That is, this hormone makes us more empathetic and makes us have a much more receptive attitude toward the world, in addition to making us feel happier.

3. These people are not afraid to express their emotions.

People who are not embarrassed to cry during movies are, in fact, more mentally tough than those who try to hide their tears. That is because they are brave enough to express their true feelings. They are not afraid of being judged or criticized. This, according to Zak himself, is also an effect of oxytocin, since, by empathizing with those around them, human beings are not afraid to stand up for what they think is right.

4. The power of tears

The findings made by Zak also show that those who cry at movies know about the healing power of tears. Crying makes us connect with other people, we learn to see that there are circumstances that can positively and negatively affect our environment, and that we are susceptible to it.

5. They don’t run away from emotions.

The people who cry during movies also assume that it’s important to maintain a certain perspective on what happens to us, and that sometimes it’s necessary to take a moment to cry. This allows them to achieve greater emotional stability than those who hide their feelings.

6. They don’t care about gender roles or expectations.

We’ve all heard the saying: “Big boys don’t cry.” Most boys learn from an early age that crying in public will make them look weak. However, this is nothing but a nonsense limitation. Boys and girls, when they’re young, don’t differ at how much they cry. It’s a human response that is not related to any particular gender, and that is known to those who are not afraid to do it openly. They don’t fear being judged by those who believe that crying is a female trait.

7. They experience life fully.

Oxytocin is related to trustworthiness between people. Those who have more trust in others, have high levels of this neurotransmitter in their body, and often forge deeper relationships. They recognize the value of appreciating those around them. They also live more fully than those who have trust issues and feel distressed by the relationships they establish with others.

Which movies have made you cry? Do you feel embarrassed to cry in front of people? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment section.

Please note: This article was updated in July 2022 to correct source material and factual inaccuracies.


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I think I've watched that one when I was younger, not sure. But still you can literally have a movie about a person whose story is so depressing that a hardcore war genocide surviver would cry, but if it was AWFULLY written... I mean it would be just hard to watch or even relate to the character.


I always cry during emotional movies.

My hard one was after I watched the Godfather. I couldn't hold myself..


Too many to count, but some “every-timers”:

E.T.; Patch Adams, The Pursuit of Happiness; Moana; Hope Floats; Titanic; Philadelphia... Marley and Me made me sob, in the theater surrounded by people.

I get embarrassed initially, but embarrassed or not it feels good, so I go with it.


Awesome article.very true many i cant remember all.

Animations like,frozen,kung fu panda 3,the movies mentioned in article,many other love stories,dramas even comedies,just any scenes where you connect to the emotions or scenes of poeple showing emapthy,acts of forgiving ,loyalty ,love.and all good things that connects on a deep level.


ouh.. the green mile,it was divided into some parts on tv,but i was kept crying somehow. so touching scenes.


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