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What is the reason behind that sometimes when I see new thing I feel that I have already seen them?

What is the reason behind that sometimes when I see new thing I feel that I have already seen them?


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I have googled it and I found that it is, because of good memory, but how it can be due to good memory as it didn't happen before. It happened to me many times, that I feel that the scene which is happening now, has already happened to me in my past. But it was a new scene in my life, so why does I feel like this? How is it possible that a same scene happens twice?. What is the reason behind it, that we feel something twice in our lives.


What you are talking about is a déjà vu, the feeling of familiarity even though the situation is not familiar at all. It is, in fact, a very common phenomenon. A high percentage of people report having had déjà vus. It is nevertheless hard to put a number to it, because the experiences and déjà vu definitions might be different. I have found numbers between 60 and 90% of the population.

The claim that this is a sign of a good memory is related to the view, that a déjà vu is not a false memory, because you actually realize that the situation should be unfamiliar to you (also mentioned here).

But how do déjà vus happen? There are several theories…

It seems clear that déjà vus are associated with activity in the temporal lobe (on the side of the brain). That's where memory is processed, especially episodic memory (things that happen - in contrast to learning a skill). People with epilepsy often report déjà vus right before a seizure that starts in the temporal lobe.

One theory, put forward in this paper, says that the memory and feeling of familiarity are processed in different areas and there is a false activation of the familiarity area during a déjà vu. The brain is not always working proberly, e.g. false sensations can happen, like hallucinations. So, the false activation of that familiarity center could give us the sense of familiarity in an unfamiliar situation.

Similar to this is the idea, that there might be a mismatch between perception and memory formation. When something we are experiencing right now is "leaking" into our memory due to false activation, we think that this has happened in the past. There is a problem with this explanation: despite having a strong feeling of familiarity during a déjà vu, people fail to give any context to when this previous event happened or which other events have preceded it. So, it doesn't seem to be perceived as a memory.

Another explanation could be a false combination of the experience with something that is loosely connected to it (like planning the trip, watching a movie with a similar scene, etc.). Our brain always tries to connect experiences. It might falsely identify something you've seen in pictures or read in a book as a real experience.

As you see, we still struggle to explain the phenomenon. It is caused by some error in the way our brain perceives a situation, writes or retrieves memory or processes familiarity. This error might be a wrong activation or wrong timing or the like.


The Real Reason Some of Us Are Chronically Late

For a good percentage of Americans, three little words habitually accompany their entrance into a business meeting, gym class, dinner with friends, or a date:

Does this sound like you? Much important work has looked at why some of us are chronically late. The truth is that there are many reasons why people just can’t get somewhere on time. But there seems to be one common thread running through the behavior of chronically late individuals that may be the most universal reason for their perpetual tardiness—and yet it is consistently overlooked:

People are late because they don’t want to be early.

For the punctually challenged, this basic motivation drives behavior whether consciously or unconsciously.

Most of us know people who are always on time because they hate being late. I fall into this category in fact, I’m paranoid about being tardy. I get to places embarrassingly early, which sometimes requires me to park my car around the corner and wait surreptitiously just so others don’t notice the real time I arrived. (Sometimes I think that if I was a ninja, I'd still get to places dreadfully early, yet would be comforted by the fact that since I was a ninja no one could tell if I was there.)

Because people like me hate to be tardy, we are always on time. But just as we hate to be late, another cohort hates to be early. These anti-early birds really want to be punctual—they just prefer to be right on time.

Wanting to avoid being early, then, is a strong motivation for why many people are chronically late.

When you ask someone why they are perpetually late, they will often inform you that the typical or assumed reasons do not necessarily explain their habit. Even when they try to be organized, consider the time of others, or set an alarm, they still tend to be late. And they are usually behind by the same amount of time—five, 10, or 15 minutes—late enough that it isn’t detrimental to their event, but still annoying to those around them. Though desperately wanting to break the habit, the conflicting motivation to not be late or early poses a real problem.

It is hard to reconcile these two competing ideals.

So why does this second group hate to be early?

There are various reasons. The most common include:

  • It’s inefficient. Being early requires having to sit around with nothing to do. The waiting time is just short enough that you can’t get into any other project as soon as you do, the time is up.
  • They hatethe uneasiness of being early. They feel awkward and uncomfortable waiting. They might even feel as if others are watching and judging them, whether this is true or not. Arriving a few minutes early makes you feel proud and confident, but arriving too early can make you feel foolish. You fear others might think that you have no life aside from this event, and you don’t want people to think that your time isn’t valuable. Take the example of a date: If you get there a little early, that looks great. But if you arrive too early, suddenly you’re worried that you come across as desperate.
  • There is an opportunity cost associated with getting somewhere early. Just as someone else’s time is valuable and you want to respect it to be punctual, so too is your time valuable and you'd rather use it productively than wait around inefficiently.
  • Sometimes you do not want to be early to be polite. You may not want to disturb someone by getting there too soon—say, a friend’s dinner party—so you would rather get there a little late.

While many individuals see being early as a virtue, many others don’t. Earliness isn’t valued to them it's a waste of time.

An article in USA Today discussed the cost of tardiness for CEOs. One hypothetical example: If Sanford Weill, at the time the CEO of Citigroup, arrives 15 minutes late to a meeting with his four best-paid lieutenants, it costs the company $4,250, the price of the four employees’ time. (That was in 2002 just think what a similar late arrival could cost today.) Yet, the same argument can be applied to the cost of being early. If those four well-paid employees arrived 15 minutes before Weill got to the meeting, that still would have cost the company $4,250 in wasted time.

In both scenarios, time is money.

It is, of course, impossible to arrive on time each and every time. Since we cannot control external circumstances like traffic and family emergencies, the only way to be prompt is aiming to get to places a few minutes beforehand. That leaves us with the problem of motivation: How can an anti-early bird just bite the bullet and risk being early to be on time? (Often, when one gets to a place early, he or she decides, "Next time I will give myself less time to get here.”)

The solution to actually fixing the habit, then, is not to think about ways to be on time but rather to think about how to make being early more valuable. That same USA Today article mentions that Dell Computer CEO Michael Dell gets to meetings a little early, and tries to make good use of that time. He says in the article, "I try to get to meetings a bit early so I can see what the mood of the team is and have an opportunity to interact informally before we get down to serious business.”

Reframing that early time as something valuable makes you feel like your time is being used constructively, whether for your own or for someone else’s benefit.

If you're trying to motivate someone else to stop being chronically late, remember that while Benjamin Franklin espoused the virtues of being early to bed and early to rise, there have always been others who agree instead with Franklin D. Roosevelt, who said: “I think we consider too much the good luck of the early bird and not enough the bad luck of the early worm.”


Mystical presence

That’s not the case with FoP. “[It’s] more mystical,” says neurologist Olaf Blanke of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne. “You are convinced that there is something, but you don’t see anything, you don’t hear anything.”

To identify the potential neural mechanisms behind FoP, Blanke’s team first studied 12 people with epilepsy and other sensory-motor problems, all of whom had reported feeling a presence nearby. Their analysis pointed to damage in three brain regions: the temporoparietal junction (TPJ), the insula and the frontal-parietal cortex.

In previous studies, Blanke’s team had linked the TPJ with out-of-body experiences and the insula with the doppelgänger hallucination. Normally, these brain regions integrate sensory signals from outside and inside the body, to create the sense of an embodied self. In out-of-body experiences and other such conditions, the integration of these multisensory signals is compromised, leading to hallucinations.

The new study shows that FoP involves disruptions not just in the integration of external and internal sensations in the TPJ and insula, but also signals related to movement (which are processed in the frontal-parietal cortex).

Armed with this knowledge, Blanke’s team turned to a robot to see if they could use it to disrupt the normal brain processes and induce a feeling of presence.


2. Past Trauma

It can sometimes be hard to leave things in the past, and memories of past trauma or pain can creep back in when you least expect it.

Certain parts of your daily routine can trigger emotional responses. Sometimes, it can be hard to know exactly what has caused this domino-style meltdown, which is why it’s so important to talk about your feelings.

By sharing how you feel and running through different scenarios and memories, you often come to naturally understand where your emotions are coming from.


3 of 18

You caught conjunctivitis.

Conjunctivitis or pink eye is usually caused by adenoviruses, pesky viruses that can cause the common cold, bronchitis, and sore throats. Although not usually serious, conjunctivitis can spread like wildfire in schools and other crowded venues. &ldquoVirus particles on surfaces can stay alive for about two weeks,&rdquo says Kim Le, MD, a pediatric ophthalmologist with the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit.

Conjunctivitis usually goes away in one to two weeks without treatment, but if you have severe symptoms, talk to your doctor about antibiotic or antiviral medications. In the meantime, try cool compresses to alleviate itchiness, warm compresses to relieve swelling, or over-the-counter eye drops to help with irritation, says Dr. Le.

Wash your sheets (especially your pillowcases) and your hands often to prevent the spread of the germs.


Finding the Message in Dementia Symptoms

When it comes to understanding dementia symptoms, Kallmyer says that there are limits to what a caregiver can do. “Sometimes, the behavior of a person with dementia will have no meaning,” she says. “The disease is just destroying their brain cells, and their actions have no rhyme or reason.”

But other times, Kallmyer says, seemingly irrational dementia symptoms will cloak a message that you can decode. “We like to think of all behaviors as forms of communication from a person with dementia,” she tells WebMD. Taking the time to interpret and understand could not only get your loved one what they need, but also bring you closer together. While the relationship you once had with your loved one will fade away, you may forge a new and different but still meaningful connection.

John and Mary Ann Becklenberg can’t know what the future holds for them, but for now they’re focusing on what they have.

“I think that we’ve actually felt closer as a result of this disease,” says John Becklenberg, who is the primary caregiver for his wife. “I’ve had to slow down some and take more time with her.”

Mary Ann Becklenberg is grateful. “Caregivers really don’t get the respect that they deserve,” she says. “They’re the unsung heroes of diseases like Alzheimer’s.”

She also has some advice. “Despite the difficulties, I’d urge caregivers and people with [dementia] to try to find the humor in their lives,” she says. “John and I laugh about things, and it helps. People really need to know that.”

Sources

Mary Ann Becklenberg, early stage advisor, Alzheimer's Association, Dyer, Ind.

John Becklenberg, Dyer, Ind.

Erin Heintz, public relations associate director, Alzheimer's Association.

Beth Kallmyer, MSW, director of client services for the national office, Alzheimer's Association, Chicago.

Donna Schempp, program director, Family Caregiver Alliance, San Francisco.

AARP: “Staying Connected to Those Who Care.”

Family Caregiver Alliance: “Caregivers’ Guide to Understanding Dementia Behaviors,” “Caring for Adults with Cognitive and Memory Impairments.”


Signs

A million different events happen in your day, and none of them stand out to you. When a seemingly benign event suddenly grabs your attention and makes you question if it’s a sign from your loved one in spirit…it probably is.

Before my husband’s great aunt passed away, she told me that butterflies were her symbol of being free from the physical body. A few days after she passed, I was watching a television show where the main character had just given birth, and it stood out to me that the walls in the nursery were painted with butterflies. They named the baby Elle, which is short for Elizabeth. Mark’s great aunt’s name was Elizabeth, and I knew this was her way of saying hello to us.

Most signs are subtle. You probably won’t get a marching band coming to your house with a sign that reads, “Mom says hi!” It’s much more likely that when you’re thinking about your mother, a picture of her falls off the wall, a dove with white feathers flies by, somebody gives you a bouquet of her favorite flowers, or you stumble upon a card from her that you’d forgotten about. It may not be the specific sign you asked for, but if you suddenly wonder if it’s a sign and think of your loved one, it’s a sign.


Ballerina Boys

Discover Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo (The Trocks), an all-male company that for 45 years has offered audiences their passion for ballet classics mixed with exuberant comedy. With every step they poke fun at their strictly gendered art form.

Ballerina Boysis a portrait of Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo (The Trocks), an all-male ballet company and international dance sensation. For over 45 years the company has shared their signature style and message of equality, inclusion and social justice with audiences around the world. The men perform classical ballet en pointe and in drag, challenging the art form’s rigid gender norms as they mix rigorous technique with comedy and satire. Inspired by the Stonewall Riots of 1969, the company was fueled by the spirit of defiance and creative exuberance that the gay rights movement unleashed. The film follows The Trocks on tour in the Carolinas, an epicenter of continued struggles for LGBTQ rights. Ballerina Boys interweaves original interviews and contemporary and archival performance footage to tell the remarkable history of the company and culminates with The Trocks’ 2019 performance at the Stonewall 50 th anniversary concert at Central Park’s SummerStage in New York City. In the words of ballerina Kevin Garcia, “Every time the curtain opens we represent progress for equality. We just do it dancing.”

A production of Merrywidow Films in association with American Masters Pictures and ITVS. Directed and produced by Chana Gazit and Martie Barylick. Michael Kantor is executive producer of American Masters.

American Masters Pictures
Founded in 2016 by executive producer Michael Kantor, American Masters Pictures is WNET’s theatrical imprint for documentaries co-produced by American Masters, the award-winning biography series that celebrates our arts and culture. American Masters Pictures partners with filmmakers, distributors and sales agents on non-broadcast releases including film festivals, theatrical, online, DVD, VOD and OTT, with PBS as the exclusive U.S. broadcaster of all films as part of the American Masters series. Films include Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool, N. Scott Momaday: Words from a Bear, Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am, Sammy Davis, Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me, Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story, Itzhak, Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You, Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise and Garry Winogrand: All Things are Photographable. Since 1986, American Masters has set the standard for documentary film profiles, accruing widespread critical acclaim: 28 Emmy Awards — including 10 for Outstanding Non-Fiction Series and five for Outstanding Non-Fiction Special — 14 Peabodys, an Oscar, three Grammys, two Producers Guild Awards and many other honors. The series is a production of THIRTEEN PRODUCTIONS LLC for WNET.

About WNET
WNET is America’s flagship PBS station: parent company of New York’s THIRTEEN and WLIW21 and operator of NJTV, the statewide public media network in New Jersey. Through its new ALL ARTS multi-platform initiative, its broadcast channels, three cable services (THIRTEEN PBSKids, Create and World) and online streaming sites, WNET brings quality arts, education and public affairs programming to more than five million viewers each month. WNET produces and presents a wide range of acclaimed PBS series, including NATURE, GREAT PERFORMANCES, AMERICAN MASTERS, PBS NEWSHOUR WEEKEND, and the nightly interview program AMANPOUR AND COMPANY. In addition, WNET produces numerous documentaries, children’s programs, and local news and cultural offerings, as well as multi-platform initiatives addressing poverty and climate. Through THIRTEEN Passport and WLIW Passport, station members can stream new and archival THIRTEEN, WLIW and PBS programming anytime, anywhere.

Original episode production funding provided by Jody and John Arnhold, Emily Coward and Raphael Ginsberg, and the Jerome Robbins Foundation.

Support for American Masters is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, AARP, Rosalind P. Walter, Judith & Burton Resnick, The Cheryl & Philip Milstein family, Vital Projects Fund, Lillian Goldman Programming Endowment, The Blanche & Irving Laurie Foundation, Seton J. Melvin, Philip & Janice Levin Foundation, Ellen & James S. Marcus, The André and Elizabeth Kertész Foundation, The Ambrose Monell Foundation and public television viewers.

♪ ♪ -The tutus, the pointe shoes, the glamour.

It was just always fascinating to me.

That just appealed to me 'cause there was just such art and beauty.

♪ -Being in the company, we were pushing the limits of the definition of what men did.

What Ballets Trockadero has done over the years is turned this notion of what is beautiful in ballet kind of on its head and turned it upside down so that there can be moments in this ballet where you just say, 'Wow!'

♪ ♪ ♪ -What the Trocks did was really upend all of the traditions of ballet and, at the same time, embraced all of the traditions of ballet.

-Everything we did was layered.

Everything had some historical precedent and moment.

It was like putting the history of ballet through a blender.

And you're gonna come out with this shake.

-15 minutes to the top of the show.

This is 15 minutes to 'Swan Lake.'

-On paper, when it's advertised, it says, 'All-male comedy ballet company.'

We are Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, but people fondly call us 'The Trocks,' the drag ballet company.

-This is 10 minutes to places.

This is 10 minutes until the top of the show.

-We're a ballet show, and I think the aspect of it being drag entertainment is a wide net to expose ballet to a bunch of people.

Their guard is let down through comedy.

♪ [ Laughter ] ♪ So people come that are ballet fans.

People can bring their families.

-We are a serious ballet company with training, with rehearsals, that travel around the world just dancing.

-We go everywhere. We're not just in New York.

We're not just in London or Tokyo.

We're in North Carolina. We're in West Texas.

-The Trockadero did a lot to popularize ballet in a country that didn't quite trust it yet.

People understood, 'If we can go to the ballet, and we could laugh, hey, it's not so bad after all.

Maybe we should go see another ballet.'

-These guys decided 'We're gonna dance,' taking something that's so formal and using it to give joy to people. ♪ [ Laughter ] . and joy to themselves and create something that was a form of resistance.

♪ [ Laughter ] 'We're gonna be fun, and people are gonna love us, and we're gay.'

♪ -The mission of the company when it was first started was to have a fun, playful time with classical ballet using drag as part of the comedy.

♪ -The longevity of the Trockadero was kind of amazing.

The Trockadero really has been an ambassador for physical humor and for American humor.

It's a little bit out-there. It's sometimes rude and weird.

We never tortured anybody.

I mean, except for people that hated us.

♪ [ Cheers and applause ] ♪ [ Laughter ] -I have to tell you, at the very beginning of all this, it was kind of a lark.

It wasn't like we formed this ballet company and, you know, here we are, we're established.

♪ [ Laughter ] We didn't know what was gonna happen.

This happens with a lot of things that in hindsight look thought out.

[ Laughs ] ♪ Success was certainly not thought out.

We had no idea that was gonna happen.

It was just, the time was absolutely right.

So, the 1970s was a perfect moment for us to strike.

-So, into the stew emerge the Trocks.

[ Laughter ] It's impossible to imagine that there could have been a company like the Trocks before it was founded in 1974.

It's a little hard to believe that there a Trocks in 1974, but it was a more expansive time, and there was the possibility of something as transgressive as the Trocks.

♪ -At the period that we came along, it was during that upheaval after the Stonewall riots and when social mores and cultural mores were changing.

♪ We came along, and we kind of shook things up a little bit.

[ Laughter ] -I came out when I moved to New York.

But in those days, you know, in the late '60s and '70s, coming out wasn't like the '20s or '30s or certainly the 19th century, when there was no such thing as coming out, because Stonewall had already happened.

-1969, June 28th, in the early-morning hours, the police raided the Stonewall Inn.

There are so many myths about what happened at Stonewall.

Some of those myths were caused by the press coverage at the time.

The headline was 'Homo Nest Raided, Queen Bees Are Stinging Mad.'

And they described in that article and also the article about how there was a kick line that confronted the police.

They were gender-nonconforming kids.

They didn't call themselves that then.

And instead of running away from this line of police who were simply goose-stepping toward them, they formed a kick line and chanted, 'We are the Village girls. We wear our hair in curls.

We wear our dungarees above our nelly knees.'

And there was one more line before the police charged them.

And so these were teenagers having a lot of fun at the policemen's expense, and the police couldn't stand it.

Stonewall was the ignition point in a movement that spread across the country and then around the world.

[ Crowd chanting indistinctly ] -Without the Stonewall riots, I don't think that a company like Les Ballets Trockadero could have started.

Stonewall blew open the door and made all kinds of performances possible.

♪ -The 1970s in New York was called the Dance Explosion.

You know, there were ballet companies and modern dance companies, contemporary companies.

Really, every other block, somebody had a loft and a company.

And the New York City Ballet was a great power, and ABT was a great power.

And all the big companies from Europe came regularly to New York.

The whole place was just dance-crazy.

There were just so many companies.

[ Laughter ] So, in a way, we fitted into that whole scheme.

Why not a drag ballet company?

You know, why not men in tutus?

Everything else is happening. Why not that?

♪ -It is part of that whole post-Stonewall.

'We're gonna perform. We're gonna wear what we want to wear.

We're gonna do what we want to do.'

♪ -But doing anything that was gay-related in the 1970s, whether you intended it to be political or not, it was a political statement.

Whether the Trocks thought they were doing something political or not, it was definitely a political action, or it was perceived as such.

♪ ♪ -The first time I saw the Trocks, I was 12, and my reaction was seeing heaven open.

♪ And I just looked at my parents, and it was like, 'That's the perfect place for me.'

♪ I think everything starts when we are doing our makeup.

I start getting in my own bubble, where Kevin is aside and I become a ballerina.

♪ This company brings me the opportunity to be, finally, Kevin without any wall.

-There is something really empowering about performing in drag.

♪ In the traditional companies, you end up dancing the male roles behind a girl, just partnering, and I felt that wasn't enough for me.

I always put the pointe shoes on by the side, hiding.

Girls are classically trained to go en pointe when they're 11.

I wore pointe shoes at about 22 years old.

So my body wasn't ready for that.

♪ It is painful, and it never really gets better, but there is that moment when your body is really used to it and you just don't feel it anymore.

And those are the best moments.

♪ I feel that when I wear the pointe shoes, the whole alignment of my body is different.

I can move more like a ballerina.

♪ You have to have a certain control, balance, a refinement that you just don't feel on flat.

♪ If you can surpass that misery, you can really feel there is this beautiful energy going on in your body.

♪ You feel like a different dancer.

♪ When I dance a female role, I am not trying to be a woman, if you want to say.

I am trying to be the character that I'm portraying.

I'm really trying to channel all the ballerinas that I've been looking up to and all the feelings that this ballerina can portray when she dances that role.

♪ When I'm Swan Queen, I'm not trying to be a woman playing Odette or a man dressed as a woman playing that role, 'cause that's a lot.

That's a lot to think about.

I'm just trying to really think of that character that I'm dancing.

[ Laughter ] ♪ Odette is a princess and under the spell of Rothbart, and she becomes a swan.

You have to portray this sort of feeling of being trapped into someone else's body.

[ Sobs ] Or not able to be yourself.

[ Laughter ] And that's a feeling I'm sure everybody can relate to in some ways.

♪ And that's what works when we are truly, you know, ourselves.

[ Laughter ] ♪ It's a role that every dancer looks up to, and, yeah, it's such an important figure in ballet.

Who doesn't love 'Swan Lake'? Who doesn't remember the Swan Queen?

[ Laughter ] There's a lot of expectation even in the normal company.

Everyone comes to watch the Swan Queen.

So I have a lot to work on, to deliver, because it's good to be a Swan Queen, but it's good to be a Swan Queen.

♪ [ Applause ] -In companies like ours, which is a self-created company, there's no institution behind it.

You know, when we started the Trockadero, we just declared ourselves to be a ballet company.

We didn't go through 'Go.' We didn't stop at Park Place.

We just said, 'Here we are,' and I just declared myself to be a prima ballerina.

I had no dancing career at all.

I just said, 'This is it. I'm a prima ballerina.'

And I was accepted as that.

So it was kind of weird that we appeared on the scene and we were immediately accepted.

A lot of the muckety-muck dance establishment didn't necessarily like us.

They thought what we were doing was terrible and insulting and wrong.

But that's actually not what we were up to.

We were up to celebrating ballet and saying, 'This is the greatest thing in the world, and it can stand a little parody.'

♪ All the things in 'Giselle' -- you know, the Wilis, the dead girls running around in the cemetery at night, 'Swan Lake,' Prince falls in love with a bird and brings her home to mother to say, 'I'd like to marry her' -- you know, all these things are absolutely ripe for parody.

♪ [ Laughter ] Well, once we had a ballet company, we had to have names for all the dancers, because we couldn't just appear as, you know, 'Tom Smith is dancing Odette tonight.'

[ Laughter ] And so in those days, all these serious ballet companies, everyone had to have a Russian name.

So we thought, 'Well, we're the Trockadero.

We're gonna make up sort of parody names.'

So I became Olga Tchikaboumskaya.

And then there was another dancer named Ida Neversayneva.

This was just nuts, just totally crazy.

There was a guy who was very chubby -- we called him Plushinskaya.

All of our inspiration and all the ballerina attitudes came from the old Russian ballet.

So we created this entire world.

From the minute you walked in the theatre and started reading the program, there was a whole world.

Sometimes before the curtain went up, you can hear the audience out front, and we hear people start tittering and giggling and laughing, and you could tell -- and somebody would guffaw -- you could tell they were reading the names.

And then we would always have an announcement before the curtain, 'Please -- no flashbulbs.

It reminds the ballerinas of the Revolution.'

[ Laughter ] So we tried to channel those sort of old-fashioned ballerinas.

You know, it's very cute, it's very over-the-top -- big eyebrows, big eyes, a lot of kohl around the eyes.

It's all kind of silent movie acting.

We could kind of put ourselves in the line of ballet from the 18th century until now.

We could put ourselves in that arc.

-By men coming in and dancing en pointe, a lot of questions were raised about things that the ballet world had thought for centuries.

The ballerina had always been put up on a pedestal -- that essence of beauty, the perfect body.

And we were coming along and saying 'You can do Swan Queen with a short, fat, black man, and it's still realistic and there's still a reason to it.'

The role is still the same.

It's just the visual is different.

Tony had worked with the American Negro Ballet before.

There had been other black ballerinas in the Ballets Russes and in major companies, but there had never been, as far as I know, a black Swan Queen.

So when he joined the Trocks, having a black prima ballerina was another first.

-Tony was a large black man in a completely white, female world of ballet, which is what the ideal was.

And so when he came on stage, I mean, people would gasp -- really gasp.

And for the audience, it pushed the envelope even more.

'Okay, we're gonna be all these guys in tutus, we're gonna be in drag, and on top of that, some of us are gonna be black.

-We came along and said, 'Why not?'

And they got a different perspective on both physical beauty and the physical energy that it took to do the ballets.

♪ ♪ -Another bill that was introduced last week would change the definition of marriage in South Carolina.

-We don't really feel like there is a reason for South Carolina to try to. -A group of South Carolina lawmakers are working on a bill that would rename same-sex marriage 'Parody Marriage.'

-It's called the Marriage and Constitution Restoration Act.

It would prohibit the state from respecting, endorsing, or recognizing any parody marriage.

-A newly passed bill in North Carolina that has been labeled the most extreme anti-LGBT measure in the country.

-We were just in a town called San Angelo, Texas, and one of the stagehands had to move five hours away from where he lived because he got shot for just being gay.

That just really broke my heart.

-On the main stage, the category is 'Wigs on Wigs on Wigs.'

-And may the best all-star win!

-Oh, my God, isn't everything better with wings?

-RuPaul's kind of like a gay Oprah.

-I think he put drag on the map for, you know, a whole community of people.

-I think the world still perceives drag as just a man in a dress or a man impersonating, but especially today, it's evolved to just so many different facets.

-It's kind of a way to show other people that they should be who they want to be or could be who's inside of them.

RuPaul always says, 'We're all born naked, and the rest is drag.'

We're all humans, and we all put on how we want to be perceived.

♪ -The first time my mom saw me with the company, she was okay with it at first.

You know, it's art, whatever.

And then she saw me in a picture where I went out in drag, and she asked me, she was like, 'Do you want to be a woman?'

You know, she was confused. She didn't understand.

But I never really connected to this idea of what it was like to be a man or what it meant to be a man.

I don't feel like a woman. I'm myself.

And I express myself in however it comes to me.

-Okay, so, we'll start the laundry pile.

-You know, it's a little Judy Garland-inspired, 1960s.

-Are there shoulder pads? -There shoulder pads.

'Cause I have sloping shoulders, so I'm gonna need some support.

And then, you know, you add a nice, like, black trouser with a little beaded fringe on the side. -Speaking of fringe, did I show you this vest that my grandpa passed down to me?

-Oh, my God. He gave you fringe benefits.

[ Laughs ] -Well, my dad was there for Christmas and got to go through his closet, and then he, like, sent me all these pictures, and he's like, 'Yeah, you know, you would love this.'

I'm like, 'You don't think I've been thinking about this for years, how I'm gonna get into my grandfather's closet and get all of that?'

My dad's an athlete, so his gift to me as a parent was giving me the opportunity to be able to play sports.

These are things he didn't have growing up.

And so I was really confronted with seeing all of these other boys who were a certain way and I was not like that.

♪ ♪ Growing up, not fitting in, and wondering why I didn't like to play football or basketball, and my dad was the coach of everything that I played.

♪ Track was okay because track and field was mixed, so there were girls there, so I could hang out with the girls.

♪ Being able to be in a company like this, where I can freely be black and gay and a dancer on stage and be good at it is a great thing for younger people to see.

I am fortunate enough to show that this is possible.

♪ ♪ [ Laughter ] ♪ [ Laughter ] ♪ [ Laughter ] ♪ ♪ [ Applause ] -Before we continue, so that he can also breathe, have you all seen Ballets Trockadero?

Do you all know what Ballets Trockadero is about?

What is very interesting about this piece, 'The Dying Swan,' is that it shows a little bit of all the different aspects of Ballets Trockadero.

We sometimes even change steps.

But one thing that we keep is the meaning of the piece.

We are still doing 'The Dying Swan.'

So there's a little bit of drama, there is that feeling, there is the presence.

Just because we do things before that are funny doesn't mean that the substance of 'The Dying Swan' is not there.

You still feel the sadness, so that has to remain.

♪ [ Laughter ] -Our first theatre in New York was at a small loft theatre on West 14th Street in the middle of the Meatpacking District.

Funny thing is, you'd look out the window, and there'd be huge lines of limousines with people coming in in furs and long gowns.

They had been up at Lincoln Center earlier watching Ballet Theatre or New York City ballet.

And it was a shock, I think, for some of our clientele, too, but they came.

-We danced in New York, you know, exclusively in our early years, but once we got to be sort of a thing in New York, we realized we wanted to do more than just dance in a loft.

I'm not sure touring was in our heads, but a lot of agents approached us, and they said, 'We will manage you guys.

We'll put you out there, but we won't put you in our brochure and we won't promote you.'

It was maybe an anti-gay thing.

Maybe they thought -- and I think this is probably not a bad thought -- that we would damage their serious concert artists.

You know, you can't have Dame Myra so-and-so at the harpsichord and the drag ballet on the next page.

Then we took a meeting with a man named Sheldon Soffer, and Sheldon Soffer, who was a very distinguished agent, Sheldon, not only did he put us in the brochure, he said, 'I'm gonna put you on the of the brochure.'

And he did what no other manager in New York would do -- he honored us for who we were.

And I think that outraged a lot of people, but he sure did get us a lot of tour dates.

But the very first tour date we had was South Bend, Indiana.

And if you can imagine in those times, we were really frightened.

'How are we gonna take this show, which is a total downtown phenomenon, and move this to South Bend, Indiana?

What is gonna happen to us?'

We were just sure that, you know, nobody would really get this outside the hothouse world of ballet in New York.

When we left New York, we said goodbye to all of our friends.

We were sure we would never come back -- they'd kill us out there on the road.

And so we landed in South Bend, Indiana.

They had just built this beautiful performing arts center.

We thought, 'Oh, my God, we're gonna desecrate the building, and they're gonna run us out of town on a rail, and it's gonna be awful.'

But we went to the theatre, made up, and we did the show, and they loved us.

You know, this is a strict Midwestern audience.

We started touring, and people just took us right away.

Maybe we were living in our own little planet, because, you know, anybody who tours understands this -- you don't see anything of the city that you're in.

You see your hotel and you see your dressing room and you see the stage.

And, again, we were never out in our tutus, so we weren't where someone would attack us.

As far as I can remember, nobody ever threw anything at us.

-We went to strange places.

We played little towns that, yes, we were kind of afraid to go to.

Occasionally, we would end up somewhere and we would be staying at the motel by the truck stop, and we're going, 'This doesn't quite look like where we want to be.'

But once the audience came in and started having a good time, they didn't care, because it was funny dancing, and that, they could deal with.

[ Laughter ] [ Laughter ] -There's no question that people who came to the Trocks who laughed, who really thought we were a great show, also found that gay people don't all bite.

Our show was just so benign and it was so much fun.

[ Laughter ] And there was no message of bitterness or hate.

And I think, in a way, people said, 'You know, these gay people aren't so bad after all.

Grandma loved it. The kids loved it.'

And I think they did have a different impression of gay people.

♪ [ Laughter ] We just did our show, you know, and then we went home and watched television.

♪ [ Laughter ] -All my dance teachers, when I told them what I was doing, they said, 'That's a career-killer.

You will not have a dance career after this is over.

You've just destroyed your dance career.'

I was working with two dancers from the Graham Company.

They had their own company.

And I was learning this piece, and it was all Graham.

And I thought it was supposed to be tongue-in-cheek.

So in the rehearsal, you know, I'm doing all this. ♪ Da-da-da-da, da-da-da, hunh, hunh ♪ and all this absurd -- and on my knees and all this, like, falling to the floor.

And he stopped the rehearsal, and he said, 'What are you doing?'

And I said, 'I thought this was supposed to be funny.'

And there was like this, 'Oooh.'

And people, like, cleared the rehearsal studio, and he said, 'It's not funny.'

So, on my way home, I thought, 'There's something that I do when I dance that puts all this stuff together, and the only logical place is Trockadero.'

[ Laughter ] ♪ Getting hired by Trockadero fulfilled how could I dance and carry on this tradition of slapstick, insane situations, and make the audience laugh.

[ Laughter ] ♪ -For some reason, I seem to have a talent to make ballet funny.

♪ [ Laughter ] ♪ When the Trocks first started, I spent a couple of months in the Soviet Union watching ballet.

I had to join some communist organization in order to get in.

And that's all I did. I threw my card away after that.

And in a funny way, that's where the Trockadero was born.

[ Laughter ] I saw a kind of way people danced in the old Soviet Union that was so old-fashioned.

Nobody danced like that anymore.

But that kind of had a lot to do with me understanding what ballet used to look like and that it could be funny.

And so as a choreographer, I was always seeking to dive down past the steps into some cultural information that would make a ballet appear funny to a modern audience.

That's why the Trockadero always looks sort of over-the-top -- because we were dancing in a way that people stopped dancing 30 years before.

♪ So, as a choreographer, I kind of always looked at history and I looked at precedent and I looked at what people had done before, and I wanted to sort of bring back things that had died.

I mean, it's like trying to bring back high-button shoes, I suppose, and I thought living in the past was interesting and that I could make it funny.

What could I do to turn it and twist it?

And I was always looking at the mechanics of ballet and how could I use the mechanics to make it humorous.

I mean, this became the way the Trockadero performed.

And so everything we did was real information.

We didn't have to make a lot of those jokes up.

They were already there, just waiting to be shown.

[ Laughter ] And so, a lot of people would say I don't honor it and I don't value it, but actually, I really do and I really did.

And that's the only reason it became really funny -- because it was from a place of honor, from a place of love.

♪ -If it feels really sticky now, it's because I was told to Coke it, 'cause it was really slippery before.

It's like stepping on Saran Wrap stretched over a tile.

-Sometimes you're performing on cement, sometimes you're performing on wood, sometimes you're performing on a marble floor.

-You performed on grass? -Grass.

You know, the green stuff that grows?

[ Laughs ] ♪ -What we do is very rigorous.

We do class in the morning, we go into rehearsal, We do the show.

♪ -Boysie, what are you doing?

-Curtain in five minutes, and then we will be starting on time.

[ Indistinct talking ] ♪ -[ Speaking Italian ] Are you doing the first variation?

Would you like to do it for us?

The way casting works is, I mean, first of all, everybody has to be able to do the technical parts, so when I started to become director, I changed the casting so there would be multiple casts for all the leading roles.

I thought 'There's enough for everybody.'

So everyone got to do something, so you didn't have a bunch of seething people, you know, waiting for someone to leave or to die so that they could get the role.

And that actually was instrumental in changing the atmosphere of the company because everyone started rooting for each other.

♪ Ballet is a classical art, and so when you have classical art, there are rules that one must follow -- same sizes, shape of the foot, size of the head.

But this is not what we do.

We're a comedy company, so a comedy company works better with diversity.

♪ -Comedy tends to work better if it's a little fast, so we want everything to be as fast as possible.

Sometimes the newer dancers have a really hard time with that.

And my line is that, 'The music is never too fast.

Head to the left! Head to the left!

♪ Did you ever get into a fight?

-So, what you need to do is just walk towards him.

Just like that, and you don't need to do anything else.

-When you first join the company, probably you don't have any experience with comedy, but then you develop it over time.

-And you get some mentoring from the director.

He tells you, 'Think about it this way.

Has this ever happened to you?'

♪ Then I'm able to use that, and then I take it on stage, and then -- let's say, the entrance to 'Swan Lake.'

It took me a very, very long time to get the audience to laugh at my first entrance.

If you don't get that smile just cheesy enough, oh, my God, this is gonna be really hard.

[ Applause ] If they don't laugh, then I know I have to work much harder on my comedy throughout the rest of the show to get them on board.

♪ No matter who you are, you can find your own inner comedian.

♪ [ Laughter ] -Some people, you actually need to coach into a specific way.

Because they don't really understand the point of view or the sensibility.

And some people, you need to let alone because they got it.

[ Laughter ] And if you try to fine-tune it, they lose that.

-Tory informed me that he wanted me to run through the lead in 'Paquita.'

-He came in, and he knew the entire thing.

No one had to say anything to him.

That was somebody where you have to stay out of their way.

♪ -That was lovely, Philip. -That was excellent.

-When it comes to classical choreography, I am able to pick up very quickly and memorize it very quickly because of my autism.

-My autism helped the ballet because I was able to have that lock in focus, being able to let my obsession obsess.

Pas de chat, plié, and in and in.

-I didn't know that I was autistic until I was 10 years old.

-I had so much expression inside, but it couldn't come out.

My thoughts, my feeling, speaking -- almost every aspect was locked.

I was teased every day, made fun of every day, hit every day.

There were people always trying to make me feel ashamed of me being myself, me living, me being a person.

Ballet was the only place where I was able to dry off the tears.

[ Indistinct talking ] ♪ ♪ -Alright, guys, take off your shoes.

When you're ready, we're gonna go say hello to Mr. Philip, our ballet teacher.

This class, even though they have their own dance therapy classes at their school. -Aah!

-You guys can have a seat on the floor while we're waiting for class to start.

. they rarely get to do full-on ballet therapy class.

So this is when. Just relax.

. they can really get excited and they can really go for it and they can really just let loose and enjoy themselves.

I definitely see myself in those kids.

Are we ready for the next part?

I see the wonder. I see the no filter.

Now we're gonna go into third position.

Can I see your first position?

I was very lucky to get to teach at a very early age.

And I fell in love with it.

Jump, 2, 3, 4. 5, 6, 7, 8. 9, 10, 11, 12.

I would be very happy to see in this class these kids, of course, with a smile on their face.

And with kids of all different ranges and levels, what I'm looking for is the children's natural sense of sync, which is meaning we're feeling each other's energy and we're moving all as one, trying to all be cohesive together.

A lot of people think autistic children cannot be cohesive as a group together, but they are able to do this, to most people's surprise.

Now hold on to the barre and go into your plié. Keep this straight the whole time.

Doing these classes with them, it really helps not only for them to understand their body coordination and their own strengths. Very good.

Plié and lift up, up, up, up.

. their own vulnerabilities, their own self-confidence.

But it's good for me because it helps me to always remember where I came from.

-He was number 1. -You were number 1?

So let's do one number 1 again.

I needed help to get through this.

Now that I don't really need that help anymore, it's up to me to do that, to give the help back.

So that's why I do it. That's why I teach these kids.

Can we go on those high tiptoes?

And. It's amazing. It's really amazing.

-Ballet is a profession. It's a calling.

You know, Balanchine once said, famously, 'I don't want people who would like to dance.

-You have to give yourself up in order to serve the art.

Ballet is so big and it's so all-encompassing.

Even if it's drag ballet, even if it's comedy ballet, even if you're joining the Trockadero, your problems have to take a back seat to how you can serve the choreography and how you can serve the audience.

And in a funny way, this has a great way of healing people.

♪ -Towards the end of my career as a Trock, in '82, '83, we had gone that year from somewhere in Texas to -- we went from hot to cold, and two people in the company got really sick.

My roommate at the time, Sanson Candelaria, woke up one night in Chicago -- this was in winter -- dripping wet.

He said to me, 'I'm gonna die. I'm dying. I'm gonna die.'

And I said, 'You're not gonna die. I don't know.

You have some kind of fe-- I don't know.

Nothing dawned on me what was going on.

And then we were in San Francisco, and I did see this article in the paper about this gay cancer.

And then other people in the company started to get sick.

-There was a period when four or five of our dancers were dying of AIDS.

I would be dancing with them, and months later, they were gone.

Sanson -- I had danced with Sanson as my Swan Queen for years, and all of a sudden, I didn't have Sanson anymore.

-I hired Sanson when I started the company, and he was clearly heads above any of the other dancers.

He was the first really, really good dancer that joined the Trockadero.

He was the first one in the rehearsal, the first one in the dressing room, and the last one to leave at night.

Everything he did had a level of seriousness and professionalism, you know, that the rest of us sort of lacked.

But he was very funny, too.

More than anybody else in the company, he loved to dance.

-I remember this story that Sanson had just gotten out of the hospital and he was well enough to do 'Swan Lake.'

And there's this moment in 'Swan Lake' where the Swan Queen is all the way down and then the prince picks up the Swan Queen and they're gonna do their dance.

And, um, that moment. [ Voice breaking ] . it was breathtaking.

-Sanson died midway through the worst of the AIDS crisis.

He lost so much -- lost his strength, lost his stamina.

♪ -That the company kept going is just amazing in itself, because, like every other dance company, so many people got sick.

Um. Those people that passed, especially Sanson, they are with me all the time -- all the time.

♪ -None of us thought the company would last.

The company didn't think it would last, and didn't think it would last.

You have to have faith in something.

If you don't have any faith, you don't have anything.

Where's your refuge in life?

Doesn't have to be religion.

For a lot of people, it's dancing.

A lot of companies really have kind of lost that faith in the thing itself and what it means.

[ Laughs ] But, oddly, the Trockadero has not.

What's happened over this 45 years is now, in a funny way, the Trockadero is the keeper of the flame.

♪ -Are you doing soft shoes, Josh?

If we're gonna do this, we're gonna do it.

This is about tenacity, perseverance.

That's really what the American spirit is all about.

-♪ La -Aah! That was a mistake! That was a mistake.

-[ Russian accent ] Good evening, ladies and gentlemen.

In accordance with the greatest tradition of the Russian ballet, there will be changes in this evening's program.

I'm really excited about performing in celebration to Stonewall.

We are charged. We're ready. Yeah.

We regret to announce the absence in this evening's program of Natasha Notgoodenoff.

[ Laughter ] For us performing here at Summerstage during Pride, I feel that sometimes we forget how things were before.

But we'll make the best of making this night memorable.

We wish to remind you that the use of cellular phones, the taking of photographs, and video recording are strictly prohibited.

Rattling noises and sudden bursts of light tend to remind our more fragile ballerinas of terrible Bolshevik gunfire.

[ Laughter ] -There goes Julie Andrews after too many martinis.

-Trockadero is such an institution within the gay community.

-And I feel really proud to be a part of something like that.

[ Cheers and applause in distance ] -They liked that one, didn't they?

-And to be part of the celebration, this is one of the most special moments of my dance career.

-Stonewall was a unique moment in New York City.

What made Stonewall special was that people could dance there.

Over and over again, I heard people talk about how important dancing was and why shutting down that particular bar and making it impossible for these young people to dance infuriated them.

This was the one place where they felt safe, one place where they could dance, one place where they could be close and do what everyone else did.

[ Cheers and applause ] -Thank you, Central Park. We love you.

♪ -What I love about the Trocks deciding to do 'Stars and Stripes Forever' for the 50th anniversary of Stonewall is that it's so in keeping with who they are.

And to do it in Central Park, where many of the great performances of all time have been done, and they did it in plain sight, I love that.

It's joyous fun that speaks to what it means to be an American in an all-inclusive America -- and, I like to think, a America.

♪ -'Stars and Stripes' is Balanchine's love letter to America.

He loved America, and he did a lot of ballets that had to do with the kind of 1950s patriotic feelings.

It's the America that defeated Hitler.

It's that America that he was celebrating.

It's more like a Fourth of July message.

♪ Well, the Trocks' 'Stars and Stripes' is a love letter, too.

But in a way, it's a reverse love letter, because what it means is America has taken in the Trocks as part of our culture.

[ Cheers and applause ] ♪ The Trockadero was a militant organization because we were breaking all of the statues.

We were smashing all the icons.

Now, mind you, we did it all nicely and it was all done with culture and sophistication -- sort of.


The Science of Crying

M ichael Trimble, a behavioral neurologist with the unusual distinction of being one of the world&rsquos leading experts on crying, was about to be interviewed on a BBC radio show when an assistant asked him a strange question: How come some people don&rsquot cry at all?

The staffer went on to explain that a colleague of hers insisted he never cries. She&rsquod even taken him to see Les Misérables, certain it would jerk a tear or two, but his eyes stayed dry. Trimble was stumped. He and the handful of other scientists who study human crying tend to focus their research on wet eyes, not dry ones, so before the broadcast began, he set up an email [email protected]&mdashand on the air asked listeners who never cry to contact him. Within a few hours, Trimble had received hundreds of messages.

&ldquoWe don&rsquot know anything about people who don&rsquot cry,&rdquo Trimble says now. In fact, there&rsquos also a lot scientists don&rsquot know&mdashor can&rsquot agree on&mdashabout people who do cry. Charles Darwin once declared emotional tears &ldquopurposeless,&rdquo and nearly 150 years later, emotional crying remains one of the human body&rsquos more confounding mysteries. Though some other species shed tears reflexively as a result of pain or irritation, humans are the only creatures whose tears can be triggered by their feelings. In babies, tears have the obvious and crucial role of soliciting attention and care from adults. But what about in grownups? That&rsquos less clear. It&rsquos obvious that strong emotions trigger them, but why?

There&rsquos a surprising dearth of hard facts about so fundamental a human experience. Scientific doubt that crying has any real benefit beyond the physiological&mdashtears lubricate the eyes&mdashhas persisted for centuries. Beyond that, researchers have generally focused their attention more on emotions than on physiological processes that can appear to be their by-products: &ldquoScientists are not interested in the butterflies in our stomach, but in love,&rdquo writes Ad Vingerhoets, a professor at Tilburg University in the Netherlands and the world&rsquos foremost expert on crying, in his 2013 book, Why Only Humans Weep.

But crying is more than a symptom of sadness, as Vingerhoets and others are showing. It&rsquos triggered by a range of feelings&mdashfrom empathy and surprise to anger and grief&mdashand unlike those butterflies that flap around invisibly when we&rsquore in love, tears are a signal that others can see. That insight is central to the newest thinking about the science of crying.

Darwin wasn&rsquot the only one with strong opinions about why humans cry. By some calculations, people have been speculating about where tears come from and why humans shed them since about 1,500 B.C. For centuries, people thought tears originated in the heart the Old Testament describes tears as the by-product of when the heart&rsquos material weakens and turns into water, says Vingerhoets. Later, in Hippocrates&rsquo time, it was thought that the mind was the trigger for tears. A prevailing theory in the 1600s held that emotions&mdashespecially love&mdashheated the heart, which generated water vapor in order to cool itself down. The heart vapor would then rise to the head, condense near the eyes and escape as tears.

Finally, in 1662, a Danish scientist named Niels Stensen discovered that the lacrimal gland was the proper origin point of tears. That&rsquos when scientists began to unpack what possible evolutionary benefit could be conferred by fluid that springs from the eye. Stensen&rsquos theory: Tears were simply a way to keep the eye moist.

Few scientists have devoted their studies to figuring out why humans weep, but those who do don&rsquot agree. In his book, Vingerhoets lists eight competing theories. Some are flat-out ridiculous, like the 1960s view that humans evolved from aquatic apes and tears helped us live in saltwater. Other theories persist despite lack of proof, like the idea popularized by biochemist William Frey in 1985 that crying removes toxic substances from the blood that build up during times of stress.

Evidence is mounting in support of some new, more plausible theories. One is that tears trigger social bonding and human connection. While most other animals are born fully formed, humans come into the world vulnerable and physically unequipped to deal with anything on their own. Even though we get physically and emotionally more capable as we mature, grownups never quite age out of the occasional bout of helplessness. &ldquoCrying signals to yourself and other people that there&rsquos some important problem that is at least temporarily beyond your ability to cope,&rdquo says Jonathan Rottenberg, an emotion researcher and professor of psychology at the University of South Florida. &ldquoIt very much is an outgrowth of where crying comes from originally.&rdquo

Scientists have also found some evidence that emotional tears are chemically different from the ones people shed while chopping onions&mdashwhich may help explain why crying sends such a strong emotional signal to others. In addition to the enzymes, lipids, metabolites and electrolytes that make up any tears, emotional tears contain more protein. One hypothesis is that this higher protein content makes emotional tears more viscous, so they stick to the skin more strongly and run down the face more slowly, making them more likely to be seen by others.

Tears also show others that we&rsquore vulnerable, and vulnerability is critical to human connection. &ldquoThe same neuronal areas of the brain are activated by seeing someone emotionally aroused as being emotionally aroused oneself,&rdquo says Trimble, a professor emeritus at University College London. &ldquoThere must have been some point in time, evolutionarily, when the tear became something that automatically set off empathy and compassion in another. Actually being able to cry emotionally, and being able to respond to that, is a very important part of being human.&rdquo

A less heartwarming theory focuses on crying&rsquos usefulness in manipulating others. &ldquoWe learn early on that crying has this really powerful effect on other people,&rdquo Rottenberg says. &ldquoIt can neutralize anger very powerfully,&rdquo which is part of the reason he thinks tears are so integral to fights between lovers&mdashparticularly when someone feels guilty and wants the other person&rsquos forgiveness. &ldquoAdults like to think they&rsquore beyond that, but I think a lot of the same functions carry forth,&rdquo he says.

A small study in the journal Science that was widely cited&mdashand widely hyped by the media&mdashsuggested that tears from women contained a substance that inhibited the sexual arousal of men. &ldquoI won&rsquot pretend to be surprised that it generated all the wrong headlines,&rdquo says Noam Sobel, one of the study&rsquos authors and a professor of neurobiology at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel. Tears might be lowering sexual arousal&mdashbut the bigger story, he thinks, is that they might be reducing aggression, which the study didn&rsquot look at. Men&rsquos tears may well have the same effect. He and his group are currently wading through the 160-plus molecules in tears to see if there&rsquos one responsible.

What all of this means for people who don&rsquot cry is a question researchers are now turning to. If tears are so important for human bonding, are people who never cry perhaps less socially connected? That&rsquos what preliminary research is finding, according to clinical psychologist Cord Benecke, a professor at the University of Kassel in Germany. He conducted intimate, therapy-style interviews with 120 individuals and looked to see if people who didn&rsquot cry were different from those who did. He found that noncrying people had a tendency to withdraw and described their relationships as less connected. They also experienced more negative aggressive feelings, like rage, anger and disgust, than people who cried.

More research is needed to determine whether people who don&rsquot cry really are different from the rest of us, and some is soon to come: those emailers who heard Trimble on the radio that morning in 2013 are now the subjects of the first scientific study of people with such a tendency.

Virtually no evidence exists that crying comes with any positive effects on health. Yet the myth persists that it&rsquos an emotional and physical detox, &ldquolike it&rsquos some kind of workout for your body,&rdquo Rottenberg says. One analysis looked at articles about crying in the media&mdash140 years&rsquo worth&mdashand found that 94% described it as good for the mind and body and said holding back tears would result in the opposite. &ldquoIt&rsquos kind of a fable,&rdquo says Rottenberg. &ldquoThere&rsquos not really any research to support that.&rdquo

Also overblown is the idea that crying is always followed by relief. &ldquoThere&rsquos an expectation that we feel better after we cry,&rdquo says Randy Cornelius, a professor of psychology at Vassar College. &ldquoBut the work that&rsquos been done on this indicates that, if anything, we don&rsquot feel good after we cry.&rdquo When researchers show people a sad movie in a laboratory and then measure their mood immediately afterward, those who cry are in worse moods than those who don&rsquot.

But other evidence does back the notion of the so-called good cry that leads to catharsis. One of the most important factors, it seems, is giving the positive effects of crying&mdashthe release&mdashenough time to sink in. When Vingerhoets and his colleagues showed people a tearjerker and measured their mood 90 minutes later instead of right after the movie, people who had cried were in a better mood than they had been before the film. Once the benefits of crying set in, he explains, it can be an effective way to recover from a strong bout of emotion.

Modern crying research is still in its infancy, but the mysteries of tears&mdashand the recent evidence that they&rsquore far more important than scientists once believed&mdashdrive Vingerhoets and the small cadre of tear researchers to keep at it. &ldquoTears are of extreme relevance for human nature,&rdquo says Vingerhoets. &ldquoWe cry because we need other people. So Darwin,&rdquo he says with a laugh, &ldquowas totally wrong.&rdquo

This is an abridged version of an article that appears in the March 07, 2016 issue of TIME.


The Science Behind A 14-Day Quarantine After Possible COVID-19 Exposure

A sign on the M8 motorway last week in Glasgow, Scotland.

Jeff J. Mitchell/Getty Images

To stop the spread of the coronavirus, health officials have a favorite refrain: After being in a city or region where there have been a lot of COVID-19 cases, spend 14 days in quarantine even if you feel perfectly fine — don't leave your house. Coming from New York? 14-day quarantine. Arriving in Hawaii? 14-day quarantine. Been in Italy or China or Iran recently? 14-day quarantine.

"That's a long-standing public health practice, and it's called 'traveler's quarantine,' " explains Lindsay Wiley, a professor at American University's Washington College of Law. "Fourteen days is not a made-up number here — it's based on what we know so far about COVID-19, and it's possible that over time we'll see that number change as we learn more [about the virus]."

The 14-day rule is widespread because public health agencies around the world work together on these guidelines. In the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sets the quarantine period, and its counterpart organizations do so abroad, all in concert with the World Health Organization.

If you're one of the many people who are being asked to quarantine for a fortnight, you might be asking: Why 14 days, exactly?

The answer has to do with how viruses invade cells and replicate.

Once a virus infects someone — a host — it takes some time for the virus to make enough copies of itself that the host begins to shed the virus, through coughs or sneezes, for instance. (That's the way the host helps the virus spread to other people — who are then new hosts.) This is the virus' incubation period. For us hosts, it's generally the time between when we're first infected and when we start shedding the virus, which may be a little before we start experiencing symptoms.

"The incubation period varies from virus to virus and sometimes from host to host," says Rachel Graham, a virologist at the University of North Carolina's Gillings School of Global Public Health.

For the virus that causes COVID-19 — its official name is SARS-CoV-2 — researchers have found that the typical incubation period is about five days. About 97% of the people who get infected and develop symptoms will do so within 11 to 12 days, and about 99% will within 14 days.

Canadian border agents are handing people entering Canada a sheet from the Public Health Agency of Canada that instructs them to self-quarantine for 14 days and monitor themselves for any symptoms that might signal COVID-19. Selena Simmons-Duffin/NPR hide caption

So that 14-day quarantine is being considered the outside "safety" margin, Graham says, to be certain you haven't developed an infection that you could spread to others.

With two similar viruses, SARS and MERS, the incubation periods are a little shorter, with most people developing symptoms within 10 days. Those viruses also had a higher proportion of people experiencing more severe symptoms, which made it easier to define the end of the "safety" window.

There's a big open question with the coronavirus that makes these quarantine recommendations trickier than usual: It's not yet clear how common it is for people who are infected but not showing symptoms — at least not yet — to shed the virus. That answer has been particularly tough to nail down in the U.S. because testing for COVID-19 is not yet widespread.

An illustration created at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conveys a likeness of the coronavirus that's behind the current pandemic. CDC hide caption

An illustration created at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conveys a likeness of the coronavirus that's behind the current pandemic.

"It's still a big black box as to how much asymptomatic spread is contributing to the increased number of cases that we're seeing," Graham says.

And even if you don't develop any coronavirus symptoms during the two-week quarantine period, you're not totally off the hook when it ends, says Saskia Popescu, an infection prevention epidemiologist at the health care system HonorHealth in Phoenix.

It'll be just as important to continue washing your hands frequently, cover your mouth when you cough, avoid touching your face and wipe down doorknobs and other surfaces frequently touched by many people — to help keep yourself and others healthy.

"If you're using hand hygiene, [if] you're still practicing social distancing and all those other infection control measures that are being encouraged right now, you're going to help break that chain of infection," she says. "Once you're past that 14 days, you still want to engage in those practices — it's not a free-for-all."

Fourteen days can feel like a long time to be stuck at home feeling fine. But if someone under quarantine starts to develop symptoms — such as coughing or fever — that quarantine period will be longer. If that happens, Graham says, you should check with your health care provider or your local health department about when it is safe to emerge from home.

"They're probably going to tell you that you're going to have to start that 14-day count all over again, because right now there's not an efficient way to tell the difference between the coronavirus and another viral infection that causes similar symptoms without a test," she says.

"Keep monitoring your symptoms — if they worsen, then you have to take additional steps," such as seeking medical attention if you develop shortness of breath. Assuming your symptoms are mild enough that you can recover at home, you'll continue to be in isolation for the duration of your illness and a few days after you feel well. Your doctor will guide you about when and how to seek a confirmatory test.

It's helpful to understand the rationale behind these quarantine recommendations, says Wiley, because they're likely to be part of the new American reality for many months to come, as virus hot spots move around the country.

"As we start to get a sense for where community transmission levels are high and where they're low — in the areas where it's low, there's going to be a desire to return to some degree of normalcy," Wiley says. Those areas will be protective of their low levels of virus and will want to keep newcomers quarantined until it's safe for them to roam.


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