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The respiratory resistance sensitivity task: An automated method for quantifying respiratory interoception and metacognition

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The ability to sense, monitor, and control respiration – e.g., respiratory interoception (henceforth, respiroception) is a core homeostatic ability. Beyond the regulation of gas exchange, enhanced awareness of respiratory sensations is directly related to psychiatric symptoms such as panic and anxiety. Indeed, chronic breathlessness (dyspnea) is associated with a fourfold increase in the risk of developing depression and anxiety, and the regulation of the breath is a key aspect of many mindfulness-based approaches to the treatment of mental illness. Physiologically speaking, the ability to accurately monitor respiratory sensations is important for optimizing cardiorespiratory function during athletic exertion, and can be a key indicator of illness. Given the important role of respiroception in mental and physical health, it is unsurprising that there is increased interest in the quantification of respiratory psychophysiology across different perceptual and metacognitive levels of the psychological hierarchy. Compared to other more popular modalities of interoception, such as in the cardiac domain, there are relatively few methods available for measuring aspects of respiroception. Existing inspiratory loading tasks are difficult to administer and frequently require expensive medical equipment, or offer poor granularity in their quantification of respiratory-related perceptual ability. To facilitate the study of respiroception, we here present a new, fully automated and computer-controlled apparatus and psychophysiological method, which can flexibly and easily measure respiratory-related interoceptive sensitivity, bias and metacognition, in as little as 30 min of testing, using easy to make 3D printable parts.
Original languageEnglish
Article number108325
JournalBiological Psychology
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2022

    Research areas

  • Respiration, Interoception, Metacognition, Psychophysics, DEPRESSION, PANIC DISORDER, ANXIETY, DYSPNEA, REACTIVITY, RESISTIVE LOADS, FEAR, PERCEPTION, 35-PERCENT CARBON-DIOXIDE, BRAIN, Interoception/physiology, Heart Rate/physiology, Respiratory Rate, Awareness, Humans, Metacognition/physiology, Dyspnea, Anxiety

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