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November 1946

ELECTRICAL RESISTANCE OF THE SKIN: Effect of Size of Electrodes, Exercise and Cutaneous Hydration

Author Affiliations


From the Departments of Dermatology and Neuropsychiatry, Harvard Medical School, and the Departments of Dermatology and Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital.

Arch NeurPsych. 1946;56(5):544-557. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1946.02300220057004

VARIOUS factors influencing the measurement of skin resistance have been repeatedly investigated. Various types of apparatus, electrodes and electrode pastes have been used in these investigations. Variations in skin resistance have often been observed which were not entirely understood. We have felt that by a better understanding of the variations in the technic of measuring skin resistance more consistent and comparable results could be obtained. The use of a standardized technic by different investigators would be helpful.

Several years ago we built an apparatus for measuring the galvanic skin response (psychogalvanic reflex). This apparatus made use of a Wheatstone bridge circuit, in which a pulsating, direct current of constant amperage flowed continuously through a subject who was connected into one of the arms of the bridge. Not long after we started to use this apparatus for investigating the galvanic skin response to auditory stimuli it was observed that it was