Why do people fall backwards when they laugh but forward when they cry?

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  1. MartieCoetser profile image69
    MartieCoetserposted 10 years ago

    Why do people fall backwards when they laugh but forward when they cry?

  2. Just Ask Susan profile image90
    Just Ask Susanposted 10 years ago

    Interesting question Martie. I would say backwards because they are happy due to laughing and it's like you're opening yourself up and showing your happiness. Forward when we cry hiding our hearts and somehow returning to the fetal position. Does that make sense ?

    1. MartieCoetser profile image69
      MartieCoetserposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      Thanks, Susan and ALL, for answering my question. I find this behaviour quite interesting as it is involuntary. When we're happy (laughing) our instinct allow us to not protect our vulnerable body, while the opposite happens when we're sad.

  3. carol7777 profile image76
    carol7777posted 10 years ago

    You fall backwards as you cannot control your laughter.  And when you cry you usually want to hide your tears..Just my opinion.

  4. Alphadogg16 profile image87
    Alphadogg16posted 10 years ago

    That's something that makes you go hmmmm......Never really noticed If I or anyone I associate with does that.....I'll have to pay attention when it happens to see.

  5. Becky Katz profile image81
    Becky Katzposted 10 years ago

    When you laugh, you open up to the feeling and sharing it. When you cry, you feel that you need to hold it in and roll into the fetal position; which is comforting to people.

  6. Sunshine625 profile image87
    Sunshine625posted 10 years ago

    Excellent question SAA. I never thought of this, but it's true. I have witnessed it many times. I second Becky's answer.

  7. Nell Rose profile image88
    Nell Roseposted 10 years ago

    Trying to be more scientific....(yeah right, what me?) lol!... I think its because when we laugh we take in a lot of air to expel the laugh, when we cry we sob in small breaths so lean forward more! Maybe!

    1. MartieCoetser profile image69
      MartieCoetserposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      Thanks, Sunshine and Nell. Mmm, we do need more breath for laughing, so body must make space.... more oxygen has many advantages, so laughing is healthier... animals don't laugh.. could laughter perhaps create intellect..... mmm... pondering.....

  8. Rain Defence profile image80
    Rain Defenceposted 10 years ago

    When you laugh it's a social gesture, you want others to see that you're happy and for them to join in so you bond. When you cry you are at that moment weak and vulnerable so lean forward to protect yourself from others and hide your feelings so others cant take advantage of your weakness.
    These aren't conscious decisions, its just the way you react naturally.

    Look at the way a dog will react to being happy, it rolls over and exposes its belly to bond with other dogs/humans. If it is injured or upset for any reason it will tuck its head down and cover up. We're all just animals at the end of the day.

  9. kallini2010 profile image82
    kallini2010posted 10 years ago

    I think it has to do with the body movements.

    When you laugh your body opens up, it relaxes (I can't imagine anyone relaxing and letting go in a cringed position).  This is one of the reason why laughter feels so good - it relaxes you, relieves tension.  You can't be tense and laugh out loud at the same time.  Unless you laugh a bit while taking cover (but then again it is a small controlled laugh, when you can't enjoy it to the fullest).

    Crying is the opposite - let me open up, invite the world, breathe with the full chest... and cry... impossible.  Your crying will stop right there.  That's why they tell you to breathe in order to take the focus away from crying.  Also there is a little trick - when you feel like tearing up  to cry in public, when you shouldn't, (for example, during public speaking - roll your eyes to the ceiling... I tried, it works).

    So, yes, when you cry the body gets in the protective position - imagine a hedgehog - to protect himself he rolls into a prickly ball.  We also tend to stay away from public when we cry (the same privacy we need when we go about "our business".  Animals like that privacy as well.)

    And, so, my fellow Laughing and Crying companions, ask not what science can do for you, ask what you can do for science!

    By the way, that was my own version of a pseudo-scientific concoction

  10. tillsontitan profile image82
    tillsontitanposted 10 years ago

    You got some great answers!  Hard to say and definitely something we haven't given any thought to until now.   I know when I laugh I need lots of air and lots of room.  Crying is a more private emotion, not one we particularly like to share.
    So, I have not answered your question just added more speculation wink

  11. bravewarrior profile image86
    bravewarriorposted 10 years ago

    I would guess it's an emotional thing.  When we laugh, we are uninhibited and wide open to the world.  When we cry, it's more private and we don't want to show vulnerability.  Just a thought.....

    1. MartieCoetser profile image69
      MartieCoetserposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      Thank you bravewarrior, Alphadogg, tillsontitan, kallini, I agree with all of you smile Will soon write a hub about this topic, or revise the one I've written some years ago about laughing and crying - Emotional Orgasms. Of course, adds were refused smile

    2. kallini2010 profile image82
      kallini2010posted 10 years agoin reply to this

      Make them Climaxes! Same thing.


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