Cardiorespiratory information dynamics during mental arithmetic and sustained attention

Luca Faes, Daniele Marinazzo, Elke Vlemincx, Luca Faes, Devy Widjaja, Alessandro Montalto, Sabine Van Huffel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


An analysis of cardiorespiratory dynamics during mental arithmetic, which induces stress, and sustained attention was conducted using information theory. The information storage and internal information of heart rate variability (HRV) were determined respectively as the self-entropy of the tachogram, and the self-entropy of the tachogram conditioned to the knowledge of respiration. The information transfer and cross information from respiration to HRV were assessed as the transfer and cross-entropy, both measures of cardiorespiratory coupling. These information-theoretic measures identified significant nonlinearities in the cardiorespiratory time series. Additionally, it was shown that, although mental stress is related to a reduction in vagal activity, no difference in cardiorespiratory coupling was found when several mental states (rest, mental stress, sustained attention) are compared. However, the self-entropy of HRV conditioned to respiration was very informative to study the predictability of RR interval series during mental tasks, and showed higher predictability during mental arithmetic compared to sustained attention or rest.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages14
JournalPLoS One
Publication statusPublished - 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General


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