Effects of emotional contexts on respiratory attention task performance

Pei Ying S. Chan*, Ya Jhih Jhu, Wen Pin Chang, Hsin Fang, Hsiang Ti Shih, Paul W. Davenport

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review


Negative emotions have been found associated with high prevalence of respiratory disease and increased subjective feelings of dyspnea, while positive emotional stimulus has been suggested to alleviate dyspneic feelings. However, the extent to which different emotional contexts affect individuals’ respiratory interoceptive attention was not clear. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to investigate the influences of emotional contexts on respiratory interoceptive accuracy, and the relationships between respiratory interoceptive accuracy and negative emotions as well as respiratory symptoms. Fifty-six healthy participants completed the self-reported questionnaires of depression, anxiety, and respiratory symptoms. During the experiment, the participants were instructed to watch one neutral and one positive affective picture series and mentally count the number of perceived occlusions (reported at the end of the trials). The Wilcoxon Signed-Rank test and Spearman's correlations were used to examine the effect of the emotional pictures and to explore the relationships between the level of emotional status or respiratory symptoms and respiratory interoceptive task performance. The significance level was set at p < 0.05. Our results did not show a significant difference in participants’ occlusion counting task performance between the neutral and positive emotional context. However, Spearman's Rho correlation analysis revealed that depression level was negatively correlated with accuracy of the task performance in the neutral emotional context, and this relationship diminished in the positive emotional context. In summary, our study demonstrated that negative emotional status, especially depression, may lead to decreased respiratory interoceptive accuracy. Future studies are recommended to test the effect of positive emotional context on respiratory interoceptive task performance in individuals with clinical depression and anxiety.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103984
Pages (from-to)103984
JournalRespiratory Physiology and Neurobiology
StatePublished - 02 2023

Bibliographical note

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  • Emotional context
  • Respiratory attention task
  • Respiratory awareness
  • Respiratory interoceptive accuracy
  • Interoception
  • Humans
  • Anxiety
  • Task Performance and Analysis
  • Emotions


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