Physiological Psychology

, Volume 3, Issue 4, pp 345–349 | Cite as

Entrainment of respiration to repetitive finger tapping

  • John Thomas Wilke
  • Robert W. Lansing
  • Cecil A. Rogers


Subjects were instructed to synchronize finger tapping with visual signals of various frequencies. It was found that breathing rate became entrained to tapping rate if the latter fell within a range of two breaths per minute of the subject’s previous breathing rate. Entrainment did not occur when the subject merely monitored the visual stimuli but only during performance of tapping. The effect occurred without subjects’ awareness and was observed only in the absence of deliberate adjustments in respiratory frequency on the part of the subject. Temporal restrictions on the neural events responsible for motor output appear to be responsible for the phenomenon.


Apply Physiology Simple Reaction Time Respiratory Frequency Breathing Rate Central Nervous System Mechanism 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Asmussen, E. “Muscular exercise.” In W. O. Fenn and H. Rahn (Eds.), Handbook of Physiology (Sec. 3, Respiration, Vol. 2). Baltimore, Md: Williams & Wilkins, 1964. Pp. 939–978.Google Scholar
  2. Astrand, P. O., & Rodahl, K. Textbook of Work Physiology. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1970.Google Scholar
  3. Bouhuys, A. Lung volumes and breathing patterns in windinstrument players. Journal of Applied Physiology, 1964, 19, 967–975.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Bunn, J. C., & Mead, J. Control of ventilation during speech. Journal of Applied Physiology, 1971, 31, 870–872.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Buschbaum, M., & Callaway, E. Influences of respiratory cycle on simple reaction time. Perceptual & Motor Skills, 1965, 20, 96l-966.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Campbell, E. J. M., Agostoni, E., & Davis, J. N. The respiratory muscles. Philadelphia and London: Saunders, 1970.Google Scholar
  7. Christensen, E. H. Beitrage zur Physiologie schwerer korperlicher Arbeit. VI. Der Stoffwechsel und die respiratorischen Funktionen bei schwerer korplicher arbeit. Arbeitephysiologie, 1932, 5, 463–478.Google Scholar
  8. Flexman, J. E., Demaree, R. G., & Simpson, D. D. Respiratory phase and visual signal detection. Perception & Psvchophvsics, 1974, 16, 337–339.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Mead, J. Control of respiratory frequency. Journal of Applied Physiology, 1960, 15, 325–336.Google Scholar
  10. Murphree, O. D. Maximum rates of form perception and the alpha rhythm: An investigation and test of current nerve net theory. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 1954, 48, 57–61.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Navas, F., & Stark, L. Sampling or intermittency in hand control system dynamics. Biophysics Journal, 1968, 8, 252–302.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Otis, A. B., Fenn, W. O., & Rahn, H. Mechanics of breathing in man. Journal of Applied Physiology, 1950, 2, 592–607.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Plum, F. “Neurological integration of behavioral and metabolic control of breathing.” In R. Porter (Ed.), Breathing: Hering-Brener Centenary Symposium. London: Churchill, 1970. Pp. 151-175.Google Scholar
  14. Sears, T. A.,“Breathing: A sensori-motor act.” In I. Gilliland & J. Francis (Eds.), The scientific basis of medicine annual reviews. London: Athlone Press, 1971. Pp. 129–147.Google Scholar
  15. Simpson, D. D. Patterns of respiratory behavior. Physiological Psychology, 1973, 1, 141–146.Google Scholar
  16. Smith, K. U. “Feedback of the motor system.” In J. D. Maser (Ed.), Efferent organization and the integration of behavior. New York: Academic Press, 1973.Google Scholar
  17. White, C. T. Temporal numerosity and the psychological unit of duration. Psychological Monograph, 1963, 77, (12, Whole No. 575).Google Scholar
  18. White, C. T., & Harter, M. R. Intermittency in reaction time and perception and evoked response correlates of image quality. Acta Psychologica, 1969, 30, 368–377.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 1975

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Thomas Wilke
    • 1
  • Robert W. Lansing
    • 1
  • Cecil A. Rogers
    • 1
  1. 1.University of ArizonaTucson

Personalised recommendations