Attentional demands on motor-respiratory coordination

Eric E. Hessler, Polemnia G. Amazeen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Athletic performance requires the pacing of breathing with exercise, known as motor-respiratory coordination (MRC). In this study, we added cognitive and physical constraints while participants intentionally controlled their breathing locations during rhythmic arm movement. This is the first study to examine a cognitive constraint on MRC. Cognitive constraints included either instruction (Experiments 1 and 2) or signal detection (Experiment 1). Physical constraints were nonoptimal movement frequencies (Experiment 2). Instruction shifted breathing locations and both shifted and increased variability in the number of movements produced per breath (frequency ratio). Signal detection had no effect on MRC. Fast movement frequency resulted in higher, more variable frequency ratios. Cognitive and physical constraints can generate unnatural and variable breathing during athletic performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)510-523
Number of pages14
JournalResearch Quarterly for Exercise and Sport
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2009

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Preparation of this manuscript was supported by National Science Foundation grant BCS-0447039. The authors would like to acknowledge the assistance of Brittney Sobwick and Britny Sundin in data collection and the helpful comments by Eric Amazeen and Clark Presson on earlier versions of this manuscript. Please address all correspondence concerning this article to Eric E. Hessler, Arizona State University, Department of Psychology, Box 871104, Tempe, AZ, 85287-1104.


  • Attention
  • Breathing
  • Dual task
  • Load


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