Anxiety and Respiration

Conference paper


Recent research on emotions has been investigated by neuropsychologists using PET and fMRJ. The location of neuronal activity during production of emotions such as happiness, sad, fear and anxiety in the human brain is becoming clear. However, emotional experiences are not only productions within the brain accompanied by physiological activity such as sweating, increasing heart rate and respiration; these activities result from an unconscious process. Respiration, one of the physiological activities, is also expressed unconsciously. The activities of breathing in and breathing out are a curious mechanism because this activity comes from the unconscious regulation of a metabolic requirement, and simultaneously expresses emotion involuntarily. In this chapter, we compare the effect of physical load and mental stress tests on metabolic outputs and respiratory timing, and demonstrate the effect of both emotional states. The results indicate that there is a correlation between anxiety levels and respiratory rate: the increase of minute ventilation involves individual anxiety. We also provide evidence that anticipatory anxiety increases respiratory rate without metabolic change and during this time dipoles are concentrated in the paralimbic area temporal pole estimated by the dipole tracing method. From our results, we discuss the relation between respiration and emotion of anxiety from psychological and physiological view points.

Key words

Physical load Mental stress Emotion Anxiety Respiratory rate Dipole tracing method Paralimbic area 


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Copyright information

© Springer Japan 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Second Department of PhysiologyShowa University School of MedicineTokyo Japan

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