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J Neurosci Methods. 2010 Jun 30;190(1):80-91. doi: 10.1016/j.jneumeth.2010.04.028. Epub 2010 May 6.

A continuous measure of phasic electrodermal activity.

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Department of Psychology, University of Graz, Austria.


Electrodermal activity is characterized by the superposition of what appear to be single distinct skin conductance responses (SCRs). Classic trough-to-peak analysis of these responses is impeded by their apparent superposition. A deconvolution approach is proposed, which separates SC data into continuous signals of tonic and phasic activity. The resulting phasic activity shows a zero baseline, and overlapping SCRs are represented by predominantly distinct, compact impulses showing an average duration of less than 2 s. A time integration of the continuous measure of phasic activity is proposed as a straightforward indicator of event-related sympathetic activity. The quality and benefit of the proposed measure is demonstrated in an experiment with short interstimulus intervals as well as by means of a simulation study. The advances compared to previous decomposition methods are discussed.

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