Electrodermal Activity in Psychological Research by William F. Prokasy

By William F. Prokasy

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What has been investigated most fully in any work on central mechanisms is their involvement in phasic electrodermal responses. How central activity may affect long-term tonic activity is a function of the extent to which this is a product of continued phasic interacting with hormonal determinants of peripheral function as previously outlined. E. 1. Models and Mechanisms of Electrical Functioning of the Skin INTRODUCTION There have, in general, been two approaches to the description of the electrical function of the skin; one, arising perhaps more from dermatological interests, views the skin as a "black box," and endeavors to describe its electrical characteristics by examining its behavior in relation to impressed electrical potentials having known parameters.

Thus Collins (1966) showed a longer latency and relatively lower sensitivity of sweat glands compared with kidney tubules, suggesting that, like sheep parotid + + + + + + + 26 Ñ. Ç. VENABLES AND Ì . J . CHRISTIE tissue, human sweat glands begin to conserve Na only when aldosterone secretion has risen to a threshold value. Further, investigation of the effect of subcutaneous d-aldosterone on urine and sweat Na/K ratios showed that whereas the former fluid had lowered values within 2 hr, the latter exhibited such lowering only after some 6 hr.

The importance of the lateral frontal cortex in particular is emphasized by the work of Kimble et al. ( 1 9 6 5 ) , who showed in lesions of this area in monkeys there were diminished SCRs to initial and novel presentations of stimuli, that is, stimuli which were distinguished from others as having different signal and hence meaningful value. P. Ç. VENABLES AND Ì . J . CHRISTIE 36 8. CONCLUSION While this section has omitted reference to some of the central mechanisms covered by more complete reviews such as those by Wang ( 1 9 5 7 , 1 9 5 8 , 1 9 6 4 ) , a picture does emerge which supports Wangs general thesis of "a hierarchy of suprasegmental controls" which, following Fulton's ( 1 9 2 6 ) long-circulating principles, are in the reverse order to that in which they have been presented.

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