Investigation of Breath Counting, Abdominal Breathing and Physiological Responses in Relation to Cognitive Load

  • Hubert K. BrumbackEmail author
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 10284)


Computers and mobile devices can enhance learning processes but may also impose or exacerbate stress. This fact may be particularly applicable to some college and university students who already experience high stress levels. Breathing has long been used in meditative traditions for self-regulation and Western science has clearly shown the complex relationship between breathing, blood circulation and the autonomic nervous system. Since breathing is both automatic and volitional, this study seeks to examine if college students can manage physiological responses from a cognitive load imposed by a Stroop color word test by using either breath counting, abdominal breathing or the two combined. The findings of this study may provide evidence which promotes the idea of teaching breath-based self-regulation strategies in college and university settings. The findings may also be of interest to designers of affective computer systems by suggesting that device interfaces and software can be configured to monitor users’ cognitive load indirectly through physiological signals and alert the user to irregularities or adapt to the user’s needs.


Breath counting Abdominal breathing Cognitive load Stress Stroop color word task Students Physiological response Meditation 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Educational Psychology and Hawai‘i Interdisciplinary Neurobehavioral and Technology Laboratory (HINT Lab)University of Hawai‘i at MānoaHonoluluUSA

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