Foto: Daniel Baleckaitis


Tuesday, 18th July, 2017

Susanne Fuchs: “Stability and flexibility of respiratory rhythms in different speech and motor tasks”

Respiration is a vital biological rhythm in all mammals from the first cry at birth to the last sigh at death. It shows a large stability, since the absence of inhalation over ca. 10-15 minutes leads to brain dead. Apart from the stability of respiratory rhythms, temporal properties of breathing cycles and their form are flexible and adaptable to sleep-wake cycles, to changes in attention, cognition and motion.

In this talk I will focus on the adaptive nature of respiration to speech production, speech perception, and production-perception loops in face-to-face interactions. In the recent scientific literature the adaptive nature of respiration attracted increasing attention. Perspectives have slightly shifted from the role of respiration in oxygen supply and its involvement in the Central Pattern Generator to a discussion of its role as a “basis for understanding and imitating actions performed by other people”(Paccalin & Jeannerod, 2000). I will provide empirical evidence for the adaptive nature of respiration in speech communication based on a series of experiments I conduced together with my colleagues.

Furthermore, I will introduce our recent work on dual task experiments where we integrate speech in the context of body motion (rhythmical motions of the legs and arms). It shows how speech and body motion can compete for respiration and that respiratory constraints due to motion may affect linguistic structure.

Paccalin, C., and Jeannerod, M. (2000). Changes in breathing during observation of effortful actions. Brain Res. 862, 194–200.doi:10.1016/S0006-8993(00)02145-4