The Galvanic Skin Response Essay

This essay has a total of 543 words and 3 pages.

The Galvanic Skin Response

The Galvanic Skin Response
The simple psycho-galvanometer was one of the earliest tools of psychological research. A
psycho-galvanometer measures the resistance of the skin to the passage of a very small
electric current. It has been known for decades that the magnitude of this electrical
resistance is affected, not only by the subject's general mood, but also by immediate
emotional reactions. Although these facts have been known for over a hundred years and the
first paper to be presented on the subject of the psycho-galvanometer was written by
Tarchanoff in 1890, it has only been within the last 25 years that the underlying causes
of this change in skin resistance have been discovered.

The Tarchanoff Response is a change in DC potential across neurones of the autonomic
nervous system connected to the sensori-motor strip of the cortex. This change was found
to be related to the level of cortical arousal. The emotional charge on a word, heard by a
subject, would have an immediate effect on the subject's level of arousal, and cause this
physiological response. Because the hands have a particularly large representation of
nerve endings on the sensori-motor strip of the cortex, hand-held electrodes are ideal. As
arousal increases, the "fight or flight" stress response of the autonomic nervous system
comes into action, and adrenaline causes increased sweating amongst many other phenomena,
but the speed of sweating response is nowhere near as instantaneous or accurate as the
Tarchanoff response.

Continues for 2 more pages >>




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