Listening to and mimicking respiration to understand and synchronize joint action

Maria Rita Ciceri, Raffaella Pellegrini

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Several studies provided evidence about the mutual influence between respiration and performance: breathing influences and is in turn influenced both by motor (Raßler & Kohl, 2000) and mental processes (Wientjes, Grossman, & Gaillard, 1998). Field experiences suggest that participants engaged in joint performances requiring a high degree of synchronization tend to breathe together to manage precise temporal coordination. This paper presents two studies aimed to explore if breathing sounds convey information about the activity being performed and to describe interpersonal breathing coordination during a joint action. In Study 1, 180 participants listened to ecological tracks of breathing sounds related to six activities different in degree of mental and physical effort in two conditions: listening vs. imitation. Most demanding activities were identified the most. Imitation significantly improved identification accuracy. Study 2 was aimed to develop a multilayer analysis to relate partners’ respiratory behaviour during joint actions and to describe their respiratory and acoustic features. Audio recording of breathing sounds of a dyad was taken during a baseline and a joint obstacle course, both video-recorded. Respiratory, acoustic, and coordination indices were extracted and related to six action units. The multilayer analysis provided quantitative measurements of respiratory behaviour that enable descriptions and comparisons between conditions and actions.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)17-28
Numero di pagine12
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2012


  • acoustic analyses
  • breathing sounds
  • imitation
  • joint action


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