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March 1986

Crying: The Mystery of Tears

Arch Ophthalmol. 1986;104(3):343-344. doi:10.1001/archopht.1986.01050150037021

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William Frey, a biochemist, in conjunction with Muriel Langseth, has written what he claims is the first book on adult emotional crying. The authors focus specifically on increased rates of tear secretion that arise from emotional rather than irritative stimuli. Frey's much publicized research has taken many turns since its inception in the early 1970s. The work began with attempts to differentiate between "emotional" and "irritative" tears and then expanded to examine some behavioral aspects of crying as well. Frey's data have tended to appear first in the popular press and on television, later trickling up to refereed journals. Indeed, in the preface of Crying, Frey states that the book includes "much information about the tear and behavior studies not covered in scientific papers and articles."

"Frey's hypothesis, if not down for the count, is certainly in serious trouble on the ropes."

The centerpiece of Frey's research and current book

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