Why do people cry over sad films

When and if tears come while watching a film, is very different. Some howl at a breath of "I love you" snot and water, others hardly shed a tear even in the most heartbreaking death scene.

But everyone has associations with sad films: "Bambi" of course, "Requiem for a Dream" or "Donnie Darko" are the answers to a spontaneous survey among colleagues. But why do we even watch sad films? And why do we do it again and again - when we try to avoid sadness in everyday life as best we can?

Scientists at Oxford University headed by Professor Robin Dunbar have dealt with these questions and their results in the journal Royal Society Open Science released. Your answer is: Because sad films let us release more endorphins and we simply feel better afterwards.

The Foscher divided their test subjects into two test groups. Some saw the film Who Was Stuart Shorter? Which is based on the true story of a disabled homeless drug addict. The others in the comparison group were shown a culture and a landscape documentary. Subsequently, the subjects' feeling of togetherness and the level of tolerance for pain were measured.

The result: Those who had seen "Stuart Shorter", although their mood worsened, they felt more connected to their fellow test subjects and were also able to endure physical pain for longer. In the so-called "Roman Chair" test, in which test subjects leaned against the wall as if on an imaginary chair, they lasted up to 18 percent longer than the documentary watchers as long as possible. The reason is the higher release of endorphins, which makes pain easier to bear.

Incidentally, the effect could not be demonstrated in around a third of the test persons; on the contrary, the film increased their physical pain. But that is like real life, so Professor Dunbar - after all, not everyone likes the movie "Titanic".

Rather, the finding is that not only joyful activities such as dancing, laughing or singing have an effect on the feeling of belonging to a group, as the scientists working with Dunbar have already demonstrated in earlier studies - but also emotional experiences in general. "Watching a tragic film is good for you - good for your health," BBC News quoted a scientist involved in the study. So if you want to do yourself a treat, watch sad movies. And because sad doesn't mean the same thing for everyone, here is a selection: