What Makes People Cry? A Preliminary Analysis of Situations that Evoke Emotional Tears

Keywords: emotions, emotional tears, stimulus material, situational vignettes


The aim of two preliminary studies reported in the article was to identify the main reasons for crying and to create a set of situational vignettes that would refer to specific situations or events that potentially can make people cry. In Study 1 (n = 61), we asked the participants to list six general reasons behind crying. In Study 2 (n = 70), the participants were asked to identify specific situations in which people shed emotion-related tears. As a result, we selected a set of 34 situational vignettes. Each of them is a short and gender-neutral description of a specific emotional reason that can make people cry and is related to one of the following basic emotions: happiness, sadness, anger, or fear. The vignettes can be used to manipulate the emotional basis of tears in experimental research.


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