rating: 40 percent), but Mr. Schroder, now 45, won a Golden Globe that always puts you on the express train to Sob Town. The Shining and Silence of the Lambs were most likely to cause fear, while My Bodyguard and Cry Freedom elicited anger most reliably — at least in the relatively small sample of subjects involved in the study. When it came to unalloyed sadness, the clip from "The Champ" was the clear winner. I'd never been to acting class. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while. A Smithsonian.com article (found via Vulture) notes that scientists have … The scene "not only produced sadness with good intensity, but it didn't produce anything else," Mr. Levenson said. Here’s the scene from “The Champ.” My theory on its effectiveness is that, aside from the fact that Schroeder is pretty incredible, most human beings find nothing more heart-breaking than a grief-stricken child. I don’t care if science says Schroeder makes people more emotional, I’m a wreck now. August 10, 2015. Need a good, prolonged, cathartic cry? (Warning: Spoilers lie ahead.) Little Ricky Schroeder, tear inducer. Is this finding widely known?Levenson and Gross' findings were published in 1995, but it wasn't until Smithsonian's article this month that a wider swath of Americans discovered The Champ's status as the ultimate weeper.

When they studied the ability of film clips to evoke emotions, he

The scene efficiently inspires instant weeping because "most human beings find nothing more heartbreaking than a grief-stricken child," suggests Jen Chaney at The Washington Post.

over the world shows Mr. Schroder, who was 8 at the time of

The fake orgasm scene in When Harry Met Sally "evoked maximum amusement," says the International Business Times, along with scenes from Robin Williams Live!.

ring. It's also simply the quickest way to get people to cry "without punching them in the face," says Adam K. Raymond at New York. The fact it's a child who loses a parent

Levenson in the 1980s. The use of the film clip in psychology studies grew out of They used the same method to identify film scenes that reliably induced seven other emotions, including disgust and surprise. The heart-rending scene used in social psychology labs all way. A study that went viral in January, revealing that women's tears are a sexual turnoff to men, relied on The Champ to produce tears in its subjects. feel disgust (a particularly gross toilet scene in "Trainspotting" "I guess if we had been smart we would have realized that the He and his graduate student at the time, After evaluating more than 250 films and surveying almost 500 test subjects, they found that the three-minute climax of The Champ provoked detectible sadness in more lab subjects than the other contenders. Oh lord, the end of “E.T.” Dang it, Spielberg, now I need a Kleenex. I Did Levenson and Gross only study sad films?Nope. "Scientifically" speaking, the film boasts the saddest movie scene of all time, according to researchers who concluded that The Champ's heart-walloping punch has never been equalled. the boy cries. (It’s actually the bit before this, when Sally Field talks about the gift of watching her daughter come into this world and leave it, that kills me every time. I can’t stand to see a cartoon deer cry in the snow. The film earned little acclaim from the critics (Rotten Tomatoes In 'The Champ,' filming, realizing his father has just died. Haley Joel Osment's tearful conversation with Toni Collette in the car at the end of The Sixth Sense "always guts me," says Chaney. blues.

… to find out what kind of music people like to listen to when they "Also, I had developed a close bond with Jon [Voight] and with In 'The Champ,' there's just a pure loss.

According to Smithsonian magazine two psychologists, Robert Levenson and James Gross, conducted a study of more than 250 movie clips, and subjected them to 500 subjects in 1988, and concluded the last three minutes of the movie, where "T.J." sees his father win in his comeback fight only to witness his death in the dressing room afterwards, elicited the saddest response from a majority of the subjects.

And lest you think they lazily chose the moment because they have an obsession with Jon Voight and/or the early career of the “Silver Spoons” star, the Smithsonian story also says that a pair of researchers looked at more than 250 movies and clips, testing various ones on almost 500 people before settling on “The Champ.” The two researchers who first gauged the scene’s consistent-weeper potential — Robert Levenson and James Gross — found that Schroeder’s tears over — spoiler alert — the death of his father elicited more sadness than the death of Bambi’s mom.

research by University of California, Berkeley professor Robert

wonderful is that 30 years later, it still works.". Specifically, Mr. Schroder's role as a child actor in the 1979 Sources: Entertainment Weekly, Intl. Or are there scenes in other movies that, even when watched out of context, are more inclined to cause tears? Desktop notifications are on   | Turn off, Get breaking news alerts from The Washington Post.

Is one of these more inclined to make you break down in the privacy of your office cubicle? We got to go home.".

The most difficult emotion to elicit? Scientists have long struggled to find ethical ways to elicit negative emotions and, since "people are willing to pay money to see tearjerkers," The Champ clip fits the bill.

watching a short scene.

Anger. You best watch The Champ, the 1979 drama starring Jon Voight as a doomed boxer, and a young Ricky Schroeder as his not-exactly-cheery son.

figure out if anti-smoking ads that evoke sadness really work. frustrated and when you see someone else treated unfairly it's not According to science, it’s a moment in 1979’s “The Champ” when Ricky Schroeder cries. remember the scene that well, but he does know one thing: "I wasn't Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA), Newspaper article Post a comment and tell me which one is the saddest, or whether there’s another cinematic moment (maybe Gonzo singing “I’m Going to Go Back There Someday” in “The Muppet Movie”?) “I still feel sad when I see that boy crying his heart out,” Gross tells Smithsonian. think I suspended reality in an intense way, so I think I believed (For the record, I am not posting any footage from “Old Yeller” because frankly, I don’t need to launch myself quite that far into despair today.). 500 people, ranking their ability to induce not only sadness but quite as an effective," Mr. Levenson said, especially if someone is makes it particularly profound," he said, "and what's really And that’s why it’s a guaranteed sadness-inducer. Scene is from "The Champ" (1979). "Sometimes in a didn't produce anything else," Mr. Levenson said.

The boy is played by Rick Schroder. Ronald Friedman, a researcher at the University at Albany, wanted

the clear winner.

Newspaper article