CONTRIBUTIONS OF CONTROLLED SLOW BREATHING TO COGNITIVE FLEXIBILITY ACROSS THE LIFESPAN
All highly developed countries around the globe are experiencing considerable increases in the proportion of aged in the population nowadays. The decline of cognition, as well as physical status associated with normal aging, are expected to severely impact our quality of life. Hence, it is of great importance to developing simple and effective approaches to help older adults to combat age-related changes in cognition and establish a set of lifestyle changes that would benefit the brain health across the lifespan. To examine if controlled deep breathing can help combat age-related decline, we carried out the breathing and attention tasks among young and older adults. Our findings demonstrated that controlled slow breathing significantly increase heart rate variability of elder adults, suggesting that there appears to be potential for use of controlled slow breathing techniques as an effective noninvasive vagal nerve stimulation, especially in older adults.
heart rate variability; Aging; Developmental psychology; cognitive flexibility; slow breathing; vagal tone
Anderson, Adam K.
M.A., Human Development
Master of Arts
dissertation or thesis