Breathing affects self-other voice discrimination in a bodily state with increased otherness


A growing number of studies have focused on identifying cognitive processes that are modulated by interoceptive signals, particularly in relation to the respiratory or cardiac cycle. Considering the fundamental role of interoception in bodily self-consciousness, we here investigated whether interoceptive signals also impact self-voice perception. We applied an interactive, robotic paradigm associated with somatic passivity (a bodily state characterized by illusory misattribution of self-generated touches to someone else) to investigate whether somatic passivity impacts self-voice perception as a function of concurrent interoceptive signals. Participants’ breathing and heartbeat signals were recorded while they performed two self-voice tasks (self-other voice discrimination and loudness perception) and while simultaneously experiencing two robotic conditions (somatic passivity condition; control condition). Our data reveal that respiration, but not cardiac activity, affects self-voice perception: participants were better at discriminating self-voice from another person’s voice during the inspiration phase of the respiration cycle. Moreover, breathing effects were prominent in participants experiencing somatic passivity and a different task with the same stimuli (i.e., judging the loudness and not identity of the voices) was unaffected by breathing. Combining interoception and voice perception with self-monitoring framework, these data extend findings on breathing-dependent changes in perception and cognition to self-related processing.