This article reports two studies investigating the relationship between emotional feelings and respiration. In the first study, participants were asked to produce an emotion of either joy, anger, fear or sadness and to describe the breathing pattern that fit best with the generated emotion. Results revealed that breathing patterns reported during voluntary production of emotion were (a) comparable to those objectively recorded in psychophysiological experiments on emotion arousal, (b) consistently similar across individuals, and (c) clearly differentiated among joy, anger, fear, and sadness. A second study used breathing instructions based on Study 1’s results to investigate the impact of the manipulation of respiration on emotional feeling state. A cover story was used so that participants could not guess the actual purpose of the study. This manipulation produced significant emotional feeling states that were differentiated according to the type of breathing pattern. The implications of these findings for emotion theories based on peripheral feedback and for emotion regulation are discussed.
Philippot, P., Chapelle, G., & Blairy, S. (2002). Respiratory feedback in the generation of emotion. Cognition &Emotion, 16(5), 605-627.