Journal of Psychosomatic Research vol:58 issue:6 pages:537-543
OBJECTIVE: The accuracy of respiratory symptom perception was investigated in different affective contexts in participants (N=48) scoring high or low for negative affectivity (NA). METHODS: Within-subject correlations were calculated between two subjective ratings and their respective physiological referent (the rating of "deeper breathing" and respiratory volume, and rating of "faster breathing" and breathing frequency) across nine consecutive breathing trials. Three different air mixtures were used: room air, air enriched with 7.5% CO(2), and with 10% CO(2). For half the participants, the trials were framed in a pleasant context, created by adding a pleasant odour to the air mixture in addition to information announcing pleasant feelings as a result of breathing the air mixtures. The other half received the trials in a distressing context: A foul smelling odour was added and the information announced unpleasant feelings. RESULTS: High-NA persons were overall less accurate than were low-NA persons in the perception of respiratory volume. For breathing frequency, high-NA persons were significantly less accurate in the distressing condition than in the pleasant one, whereas for low-NA persons, the information frame did not matter. CONCLUSION: The study shows that the accuracy of respiratory symptom reports is reduced in high-NA persons, especially in a distressing context.