Bilateral comparison of traditional and alternate electrodermal measurement sites
Abstract Advances in mobile and wireless technology have expanded the scope of electrodermal research. Since traditional electrodermal measurement sites are not always suitable for laboratory research and are rarely appropriate for ambulatory measurements, there is a need to explore and contrast alternate measurement locations. We evaluated bilateral electrodermal activity (EDA) from five measurement sites (fingers, feet, wrists, shoulders, and calves). In a counterbalanced, randomized, within-subjects design study, participants (N = 115) engaged in a 4-min-long breathing exercise and were exposed to emotionally laden and neutral stimuli. High within-subject correlations were found between the EDA measured from fingers bilaterally (r = .89), between the left fingers and both feet (r = .72). Moderate correlations were found between EDA measured from the left fingers and wrists (r = .30 and r = .33), low correlations between the left fingers and the shoulders (r = ?.03 and r = ?.06) or calves (r = .05 and r = .14). Response latency was the shortest on the fingers while it was the longest on the lower body. Short response windows would miss some of the responses from the palmar surfaces and a substantial number from other evaluated locations. The fingers and the feet are the most reliable locations to measure from, followed by the wrists. We suggest setting site-specific response windows for different measurement locations. An investigation of repeatability showed that within-subject correlations, response frequencies, response amplitudes show a similar pattern from the first measurement time to a later one.