Breathing in waves: Understanding respiratory-brain coupling as a gradient of predictive oscillations

Malthe Brændholt, Daniel S. Kluger*, Somogy Varga, Detlef H. Heck, Joachim Gross, Micah G. Allen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperReviewResearchpeer-review


Breathing plays a crucial role in shaping perceptual and cognitive processes by regulating the strength and synchronisation of neural oscillations. Numerous studies have demonstrated that respiratory rhythms govern a wide range of behavioural effects across cognitive, affective, and perceptual domains. Additionally, respiratory-modulated brain oscillations have been observed in various mammalian models and across diverse frequency spectra. However, a comprehensive framework to elucidate these disparate phenomena remains elusive. In this review, we synthesise existing findings to propose a neural gradient of respiratory-modulated brain oscillations and examine recent computational models of neural oscillations to map this gradient onto a hierarchical cascade of precision-weighted prediction errors. By deciphering the computational mechanisms underlying respiratory control of these processes, we can potentially uncover new pathways for understanding the link between respiratory-brain coupling and psychiatric disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105262
JournalNeuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023


  • Cognition
  • Mental health
  • Neural oscillation
  • Predictive coding
  • Respiration
  • Brain
  • Animals
  • Brain Waves/physiology
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders
  • Mammals


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