The Effect of Breath Pacing on Task Switching and Working Memory

Journal ar
International Journal of Neural Systems
  • Volumen: 30
  • Número: 6
  • Fecha: 01 junio 2020
  • ISSN: 17936462 01290657
  • Tipo de fuente: Revista
  • DOI: 10.1142/S0129065720500288
  • Tipo de documento: Artículo
  • Editorial: World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte
© 2020 World Scientific Publishing Company.The cortical and subcortical circuit regulating both cognition and cardiac autonomic interactions are already well established. This circuit has mainly been analyzed from cortex to heart. Thus, the heart rate variability (HRV) is usually considered a reflection of cortical activity. In this paper, we investigate whether HRV changes affect cortical activity. Short-term local autonomic changes were induced by three breathing strategies: spontaneous (Control), normal (NB) and slow paced breathing (SB). We measured the performance in two cognition domains: executive functions and processing speed. Breathing maneuvres produced three clearly differentiated autonomic states, which preconditioned the cognitive tasks. We found that the SB significantly increased the HRV low frequency (LF) power and lowered the power spectral density (PSD) peak to 0.1Hz. Meanwhile, executive function was assessed by the working memory test, whose accuracy significantly improved after SB, with no significant changes in the response times. Processing speed was assessed by a multitasking test. Consistently, the proportion of correct answers (success rate) was the only dependent variable affected by short-term and long-term breath pacing. These findings suggest that accuracy, and not timing of these two cognitive domains would benefit from short-term SB in this study population.

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