Isen, Joshua Departments of Psychology and Neuroscience, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Iacono, William G. Departments of Psychology and Neuroscience, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Last reviewed:December 2019
- Description and mechanism
- Polygraph test
- Individual differences
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
A psychophysiological measure of the electrical reactions of the skin used to index activity of the sympathetic nervous system. The electrodermal response is manifested as a rise in skin conductivity as a result of the filling of sweat ducts and the concomitant increase in skin hydration. Electrodermal phenomena derive from the activity of the eccrine sweat glands. These glands serve important thermoregulatory functions and they are most active during physical exercise and hot temperatures. Although sweat glands are distributed throughout the body, sites on the hands and feet are more sensitive to psychoemotional phenomena. To record electrodermal activity, electrodes are attached typically to these sites while changes in skin conductance (or its reciprocal, resistance) are monitored as an imperceptible current is passed through the electrodes. See also: Nervous system (vertebrate); Skin; Sweat gland; Sympathetic nervous system
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