The skin conductance orienting response to semantic stimuli: Significance can be independent of arousal

Department of Psychology, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa 52252, USA.
Psychophysiology (Impact Factor: 2.99). 02/2008; 45(1):111-8. DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-8986.2007.00604.x
Source: PubMed


The characteristics of stimuli that elicit skin conductance responses (SCRs) have been conceptualized in varied ways, with strong emphasis on the significance or arousing quality of stimuli. Our goal was to determine whether "significance" can be shown to have an effect on SCRs independent of "arousal," using words as stimuli. Ratings of words indicated that significance is partially independent of arousal. In Study 1, SCRs from 43 participants during presentation of 20 significant, nonarousing words with a negative valence that were either depression related or potentially self-referent and 20 nonsignificant words matched on valence and arousal showed a main effect of significance. In Study 2 (N=44), significant, nonarousing words were sampled more broadly to examine the effects of self-reference and valence. Significance, rather than just negativity or self-reference, elicited SCRs independently of arousal. SCRs to significant words may reflect cognitive and attentional processes that, in turn, might prove useful for the assessment of the cognitive aspects of anxiety.

1 Follower
3 Reads
  • Source
    • "Since sweat gland activity is controlled by the sympathetic nervous system, skin conductance measurement is used as an indicator of psychophysiological arousal. Skin conductance measurement is most frequently used in psychology, particularly to evaluate emotional arousal [2] [3]. It is also used in studies on stress evaluation [4] [5] [6] and driver workload [7] [8]. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Electrodermal activity is a frequently measured physiological response in various applications. It is also being increasingly used in clinical applications. Numerous published papers report results of skin conductance measurements in absolute values, but few are concerned with the quality of results. This paper describes a procedure for metrological evaluation of skin conductance measurement. Three commercial devices for measuring skin conductance were calibrated by comparison with a precision digital ohmmeter used as a reference. Combined measurement uncertainty of skin conductance meters was calculated by means of uncertainty of reference instrument and uncertainties due to measurement repeatability, reproducibility, resolution and environmental condition. Additionally, a procedure for evaluation of the effect of electrode displacement and electrode gel was shown. A model of finger skin conductance profile was build. Measurement uncertainty analysis showed that contributions due to resolution and sensitivity of the measuring device, usually obtained from specifications, are negligible when compared to uncertainty of measuring method. Our results indicate that measurement uncertainty does not meet target uncertainty requirements for certain applications.
    Measurement 11/2013; 46(9):2993-3001. DOI:10.1016/j.measurement.2013.06.024 · 1.48 Impact Factor
  • Source
    • "Somatic markers contribute emotional activation to cognitive processing and have primarily been introduced into decision making using skin conductance as physiological measure of somatic marker activity. Skin conductance generally relates to arousal and reacts to novelty of a stimulus [23], [24] as well as to omission of an expected stimulus [25]. Emotional, significant or intense stimuli also commonly result in elevated skin conductance responses (SCR) [24]. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Anhedonia, reduced positive affect and enhanced negative affect are integral characteristics of major depressive disorder (MDD). Emotion dysregulation, e.g. in terms of different emotion processing deficits, has consistently been reported. The aim of the present study was to investigate mood changes in depressive patients using a multidimensional approach for the measurement of emotional reactivity to mood induction procedures. Experimentally, mood states can be altered using various mood induction procedures. The present study aimed at validating two different positive mood induction procedures in patients with MDD and investigating which procedure is more effective and applicable in detecting dysfunctions in MDD. The first procedure relied on the presentation of happy vs. neutral faces, while the second used funny vs. neutral cartoons. Emotional reactivity was assessed in 16 depressed and 16 healthy subjects using self-report measures, measurements of electrodermal activity and standardized analyses of facial responses. Positive mood induction was successful in both procedures according to subjective ratings in patients and controls. In the cartoon condition, however, a discrepancy between reduced facial activity and concurrently enhanced autonomous reactivity was found in patients. Relying on a multidimensional assessment technique, a more comprehensive estimate of dysfunctions in emotional reactivity in MDD was available than by self-report measures alone and this was unsheathed especially by the mood induction procedure relying on cartoons. The divergent facial and autonomic responses in the presence of unaffected subjective reactivity suggest an underlying deficit in the patients' ability to express the felt arousal to funny cartoons. Our results encourage the application of both procedures in functional imaging studies for investigating the neural substrates of emotion dysregulation in MDD patients. Mood induction via cartoons appears to be superior to mood induction via faces and autobiographical material in uncovering specific emotional dysfunctions in MDD.
    PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(1):e30016. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0030016 · 3.23 Impact Factor
  • Source
    • "To the extent that stories acquired by searching are more motivationally relevant than stories acquired by surfing (as predicted in H1), one would expect them to elicit greater skin conductance. Furthermore, recent research has shown that words with signal (motivational relevance) properties elicit skin conductance responses (Dindo & Fowles, 2008). It follows, then, that stories with signal properties should elicit greater skin conductance while a person reads them. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: A mixed-design experiment was conducted to explore differences between searching and surfing on cognitive and emotional responses to online news. Ninety-two participants read three unpleasant news stories from a website. Half of the participants acquired their stories by searching, meaning they had a previous information need in mind. The other half of the participants acquired their stories by surfing, with no previous information need in mind. Heart rate, skin conductance, and corrugator activation were collected as measures of resource allocation, motivational activation, and unpleasantness, respectively, while participants read each story. Self-report valence and recognition accuracy were also measured. Stories acquired by searching elicited greater heart rate acceleration, skin conductance level, and corrugator activation during reading. These stories were rated as more unpleasant, and their details were recognized more accurately than similar stories that were acquired by surfing. Implications of these results for understanding how people process online media are discussed.
    Journal of Media Psychology Theories Methods and Applications 01/2009; 21(2):49-59. DOI:10.1027/1864-1105.21.2.49 · 1.66 Impact Factor
Show more

Similar Publications