Naked Science Forum

Life Sciences => Physiology & Medicine => Topic started by: thedoc on 08/04/2013 19:30:01

Title: Are we more likely to cry aboard aeroplanes?
Post by: thedoc on 08/04/2013 19:30:01
Ariel Yusim  asked the Naked Scientists:
I'm a big fan of your show (, and wanted to thank you for your great podcast (

I was wondering if you could help me with this question. Why are we so much more likely to cry in movies on airplanes? I noticed it in myself over the years and recently had several separate conversations about this topic and found that everyone seems to have had the same experience of weeping to a cheesy romantic comedy or some other schmaltzy nonsense when watching it on an airplane. Even though we know the movie is bad, we can't seem to help the welling up of emotion.

What is it about being on a airplane that makes us more emotional? Is it the oxygen levels in the air? the pressure? or perhaps the knowledge that we're precariously trapped on a flying can in the sky?

Many thanks, and keep up the wonderful work!

from New York City.

What do you think?
Title: Re: Are we more likely to cry aboard aeroplanes?
Post by: CliffordK on 08/04/2013 20:28:08
I haven't noticed it myself, and it seems as if many of the airlines I've been on lately are too cheap to have inflight entertainment. 

A couple of things come to mind.  Perhaps the movie choice on the airlines would be different than what I would ordinarily pick out.

Also, travelling can be an emotional time, including stress, perhaps excitement, and often disrupted sleep.  I've tried to bring books for flights, but I have troubles concentrating on flights (or also train trips).

Perhaps these mixed emotions spill over into your movie experience.