Recent insights into respiratory modulation of brain activity offer new perspectives on cognition and emotion

Biol Psychol. 2022 Apr:170:108316. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsycho.2022.108316. Epub 2022 Mar 12.


Over the past six years, a rapidly growing number of studies have shown that respiration exerts a significant influence on sensory, affective, and cognitive processes. At the same time, an increasing amount of experimental evidence indicates that this influence occurs via modulation of neural oscillations and their synchronization between brain areas. In this article, we review the relevant findings and discuss whether they might inform our understanding of a variety of disorders that have been associated with abnormal patterns of respiration. We review literature on the role of respiration in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), anxiety (panic attacks), and autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and we conclude that the new insights into respiratory modulation of neuronal activity may help understand the relationship between respiratory abnormalities and cognitive and affective deficits.

Keywords: Cognition; Emotion; Functional connectome; Mental health; Neural oscillation; Respiration.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder*
  • Brain
  • Cognition
  • Emotions
  • Humans
  • Panic Disorder* / psychology