These include empathy, extroversion, femininity, self-esteem, and prior levels of stress. Women who wereobserved to be crying during a movie were more likely to report being sad to the researchers after the movie, as compared to men who were observed to cry but who reported no emotional connection to the film.
Mentally tough people are thought of as being able to take the leadership role in social interactions, which seems to conflict with the image of someone who cries at movies. However, being extroverted was one of the surprising personality trait results of the above experiment. The researchers found that these personality traits were associated with crying during movies along with ego strength or levels of self-esteem, which is the mental toughness in knowing oneself to be worthy of respect.
You might say that people who cry during movies have an advantage over others. Picking up on emotional cues based on tone, facial expressions, body language, micro expressions, and your gut instinct helps you to identify if people you interact with are pleased or displeased. This is the kind of information that marketing professionals would kill for so they know preference for or against a product.
Crying during movies is part of the experience of totally immersing yourself into a movie. In another study, researchers looked at the illusion of having two bodies at the same time during a movie. They say that although we know that the movie is not real, more perceptive people are simultaneously aware of being inside the film and outside of it. This conflict between being both here in the seat of the theater and also participating in the movie experience of the actors can cause viewers to experience “dizziness and nausea, an unsettling yet – to a certain degree – pleasurable feeling, which is significantly intensified in media environments such as 3-D films and virtual reality.”