The progress of a sigh

Research on sighing continues, perhaps spurred on by the awarding of the 2012 Ig Nobel Prize in psychology to Karl Halvor Teigen (of the University of Oslo), for trying to understand why, in everyday life, people sigh.

Professor Teigen’s prize-winning study (“Is a Sigh ‘Just a Sigh’? Sighs as Emotional Signals and Responses to a Difficult Task,” Karl Halvor Teigen, Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, vol. 49, no. 1, 2008, pp. 49–57) is cited in an especially integrative new study on sighing:

The integrative role of the sigh in psychology, physiology, pathology, and neurobiology,” Jan-Marino (“Nino”) Ramirez [pictured here], Progress in Brain Research, vol. 209, 2014, pp. 91-129. (Thanks to @NeuroSkeptic for bringing this to our attention.) The author, at the University of Washington, explains:

ramirez“‘Sighs, tears, grief, distress’ expresses Johann Sebastian Bach in a musical example for the relationship between sighs and deep emotions. This review explores the neurobiological basis of the sigh and its relationship with psychology, physiology, and pathology. Sighs monitor changes in brain states, induce arousal, and reset breathing variability. These behavioral roles homeostatically regulate breathing stability under physiological and pathological conditions. Sighs evoked in hypoxia evoke arousal and thereby become critical for survival….”