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Nose breathing enhances memory consolidation

Findings add to growing evidence for influence of respiration on human perception, cognition

Society for Neuroscience

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IMAGE: Figure 1. Schematic of experimental paradigm. The experiment consisted of two separate sessions, each including an encoding, a consolidation, and a recognition phase. In the encoding phase, participants were presented... view more 

Credit: Arshamian et al., JNeurosci (2018)

Breathing through the nose may improve the transfer of experience to long-term memory, finds a study of human adults published in JNeurosci. The findings add to growing evidence for the influence of respiration on human perception and cognition.

Building on previous research in animals and humans, Artin Arshamian and colleagues compared the effects of nose breathing and mouse breathing during a one-hour consolidation period after participants were exposed to various odors. Nose breathers, whose mouths were taped over during the consolidation period, showed increased odor recognition compared to mouth breathers, whose noses were clipped during consolidation.

Although this study did not measure brain activity, the researchers suggest that nose breathing may facilitate communication between sensory and memory networks as memories are replayed and strengthened during consolidation. The study provides evidence that, in addition to its effects on memory encoding and retrieval, nasal respiration also supports memory consolidation.

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Article: Respiration modulates olfactory memory consolidation in humans

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3360-17.2018

Corresponding author: Artin Arshamian (Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden), artin.arshamian@ki.se

About JNeurosci

JNeurosci, the Society for Neuroscience's first journal, was launched in 1981 as a means to communicate the findings of the highest quality neuroscience research to the growing field. Today, the journal remains committed to publishing cutting-edge neuroscience that will have an immediate and lasting scientific impact, while responding to authors' changing publishing needs, representing breadth of the field and diversity in authorship.

About The Society for Neuroscience

The Society for Neuroscience is the world's largest organization of scientists and physicians devoted to understanding the brain and nervous system. The nonprofit organization, founded in 1969, now has nearly 37,000 members in more than 90 countries and over 130 chapters worldwide.

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