A self-zeroing psychogalvanometer and electronic analyzer for galvanic skin response data



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The problem. The purpose of this study was to design, build, and demonstrate the use of an electronic analyzer which would record changes in galvanic skin resistance and make it possible to analyze these changes electronically. Procedure. A self-zeroing psychogalvanometer was built which was sensitive only the positive rate of change of conductance. The psychogalvanometer was so arranged that the changes in skin conductance of the subjects modulated the amplitude of an alternating current voltage. This modulated signal was recorded on magnetic recording tape. Eight subjects were used. They were divided into two groups of four each: the tender-minded group and the tough-minded group. "A Study of Values" by Allport and Vernon was used to select the two groups. The stimulus material presented to each subject was a short story recorded on tape. After each subject's changes in skin conductance had been recorded on tape during the presentation of the stimulus material, he was given a questionnaire in o rder to get an introspective resport on the intensity of his feelings about the story. The electronic analyzer was designed to add or subtract alternating current voltages. With this circuit and a specially built tape playing mechanism it was possible to average any desired number of galvanic skin response records onto one tape. It was also possible to compare the shapes or characteristic patterns of any two records or average records in a manner independent of the actual mangitudes of the changes in the records. Results and conclusions. No relationship between the actual amount of change of skin conductance and the two groups was found. The questionnaire scores did not bear any relation either to the amount of conductance change or to the two groups. However, when the shapes or patterns of the reocrds were compard, it was found taht between-group comparisons resulted in less similiary than within-group comparisons. The data suggest that the method of comparing shapes or patterns of response may prove to be a useful technique in further work with the galvanic skin response.



Galvanic skin response