It was already widely assumed, but German experts provided confirmation on Wednesday: women cry more often than men, for longer -- and in a more dramatic fashion.
According to the German Society of Ophthalmology, which has collated different scientific studies on the phenomenon, women shed tears on average between 30 and 64 times a year and men six to 17 times.
Men tend to cry for between two and four minutes, but for females sessions last around six minutes. And weeping turns into full-blown sobbing for women in 65 percent of cases, compared to just six percent for males.
Until adolescence, however, there is no difference. Up until 13, boys and girls turn on the waterworks the same amount, "showing that blubbing because of joy, sadness or anger is something that is learned," researchers said.
The reasons for bawling differ too, the paper found.
Women cry when they feel inadequate, when they are confronted by situations that are difficult to resolve or when they remember past events.
Men, meanwhile, tend to cry from empathy or when a relationship fails.
The function of weeping remains something of a mystery, however, the research found, with doubts over its cathartic or relaxing effects.
(c) 2009 AFP