Vernier Software and Technology
Vernier Software & Technology

Respiratory Response to Physiologic Challenges

Figure from experiment 20 from Human Physiology with Vernier


The respiratory cycle of inspiration and expiration is controlled by complex mechanisms involving neurons in the cerebral cortex, brain stem, and peripheral nervous system, as well as central and peripheral receptors. These receptors respond to a variety of stimuli including chemicals and pressure. Central respiratory control (respiratory drive) occurs in the pons and medulla, which respond directly to chemical influences. Other input is received from stretch receptors in the lungs and chemoreceptors located in the carotid and aortic bodies. The chemoreceptors respond most sensitively and rapidly to carbon dioxide but also to oxygen and pH (acidity). Constant adjustments in the respiratory cycle occur throughout the day to allow gas exchange in the lungs to maintain a steady level of CO2 in the bloodstream. An increase in the CO2 level stimulates breathing, while a decrease inhibits it. If the deviation from the “set point” is large enough you may experience shortness of breath. The oxygen level can also influence the respiratory cycle, but larger deviations are required before its influence is felt.


In this experiment, you will

  • Obtain graphical representation of normal tidal volume.
  • Compare tidal volumes generated by various physiologic challenges.
  • Correlate your findings with real-life situations.

Sensors and Equipment

This experiment features the following Vernier sensors and equipment.

Additional Requirements

You may also need an interface and software for data collection. What do I need for data collection?

Standards Correlations

See all standards correlations for Human Physiology with Vernier »

Human Physiology with Vernier

See other experiments from the lab book.

1Warming Function of Nasal Passageways
2Effect of Vascularity on Skin Temperature Recovery
3Heart Rate as a Vital Sign
4Heart Rate and Exercise
5Heart Rate Response to Baroreceptor Feedback
6Effect of Coughing on Heart Rate
7Blood Pressure as a Vital Sign
8Blood Pressure and Exercise
9Diurnal Blood Pressure Variation
10Heart Rate and Blood Pressure as Vital Signs
11Heart Rate, Blood Pressure, and Exercise
12Analyzing the Heart with EKG
13Introduction to EMG
14ANeuromuscular Reflexes (with Accelerometer)
14BNeuromuscular Reflexes (without Accelerometer)
15Muscle Function Analysis
16Grip Strength Comparison
17Grip Strength and Muscle Fatigue
18EMG and Muscle Fatigue
19Lung Volumes and Capacities
20Respiratory Response to Physiologic Challenges
21Analysis of Lung Function
22Oxygen and Aerobic Metabolism
23Oxygen Extraction by the Lungs
24Effect of "Dead Space" on Oxygen Exchange

Experiment 20 from Human Physiology with Vernier Lab Book

<i>Human Physiology with Vernier</i> book cover

Included in the Lab Book

Vernier lab books include word-processing files of the student instructions, essential teacher information, suggested answers, sample data and graphs, and more.

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