Galvanic Skin Response


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galvanic skin response

[gal′van·ik ′skin ri‚späns]
(physiology)
The electrical reactions of the skin to any stimulus as detected by a sensitive galvanometer; most often used experimentally to measure the resistance of the skin to the passage of a weak electric current. Also known as electrodermal response.

Galvanic Skin Response

 

psychogalvanic reflex, a change in potential difference or electric resistance between two points on the skin in response to various stimuli or emotional excitement; first described by the Russian physiologist I. R. Tarkhanov in 1889.

Galvanic skin response is usually recorded by measuring the indexes between the palmar and dorsal surfaces of the hand or between the palmar surfaces of both hands. The galvanic skin response is a negative shift of biopotential or a decrease in electrocutaneous resistance caused by the activity of the sweat glands just before perspiration. This activity is induced by nervous impulses proceeding from the central nervous system through the sympathetic fibers. The central structures responsible for the galvanic skin response are found in the reticular formation of the mesencephalon and hypothalamus and are activated by the higher sections of the brain (chiefly the limbic system—the most important part of the brain’s emotional apparatus). The galvanic skin response is a component of the orientation reaction, that is, the response to unexpected change characterizing the processes leading to any kind of new action.

L. P. LATASH

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