Research in cerebral laterality supports the idea that functional differences between the left and right hemispheres exist with respect to cognitive style and perceptual ability. Related research, which has examined autonomic nervous system (ANS) correlates of cerebral laterality, suggests that a component of the ANS, electrodermal activity (EDA), is also lateralized. Some findings in the literature report the occurrence of bilateral asymmetries in phasic and tonic EDA as a function of a left or right hemisphere preference for information processing. This experiment used normal male subjects who were either left or right movers in a test of Conjugate Lateral Eye Movement (CLEM). This selection procedure served to maximize a subject’s preference for either a right or left hemisphere mode of information processing. Bilateral EDA was recorded continuously while subjects performed a visual recognition task using word (left hemisphere) and shape (right hemisphere) stimuli. The data do not support the contention that performance on a procedure chosen to selectively activate a given hemisphere elicits asymmetric tonic and/or phasic EDA. The results show no significant difference in the frequency of elicited skin conductance responses under either of the experimental conditions. Bilateral tonic EDA rose continuously over time and did not vary in either hand as a function of task. The present results fail to offer support for either of the hypotheses which argue for I) increased contralateralexcitation with selective hemispheric activation, or 2) increased contralateralinhibition of the EDR with hemispheric arousal.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price includes VAT for USA
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
This is the net price. Taxes to be calculated in checkout.
Argyle, M. and Cook, M.:Gaze and Mutual Gaze. Cambridge, England, Cambridge University Press, 1976.
Bogen, J. E., Dezure, R., Tenhouten, W. D. and Marsh, J. F.: The other side of the brain: IV. The A/P ratio. Bulletin of the Los Angeles Neurological Societies37, 49–61, 1972.
Dee, H. L. and Fontenot, D. J.: Cerebral dominance and lateral differences in perception and memory. Neuropsychologica11, 167–173, 1973.
Dimond, S.:The Double Brain. London, Churchill Livingstone, 1972.
Donchin, E., Kutas M. and McCarthy, G.: Electrocortical indices of hemispheric utilization.In Hamad, S., Doty, R. W., Goldstein, L., Jaynes, J. and Krauthamer, G. (eds.):Lateralization in the Nervous System. New York, Academic Press, 1977.
Ehrlichman, H. and Weinberger, A.: Lateral eye movements and hemispheric asymmetry: a critical review. Psychological Bulletin85, 1080–1101, 1978.
Erwin, R. J., McClanahan, B. A. and Kleinman, K. M.: Effects of level of arousal and type of task upon bilateral skin conductance asymmetry and conjugate lateral eye movements, (unpublished, 1979).
Fontenot, D.: Visual field differences in the recognition of verbal and nonverbal stimuli in man. Journal of Comparative and Physiological Psychology85, 564–569, 1973.
Galin, D.: Implications for psychiatry of left and right cerebral specialization. Archives of General Psychiatry31, 572–583, 1974.
Galin, D. and Ellis, R.: Asymmetry in evoked potentials as an index of lateralized cognitive processes; relation to EEG alpha-asymmetry. Neuropsychologica13, 45–50, 1975.
Galin, D. and Ornstein, R.: Lateral specialization of cognitive style: an EEG study. Psychophysiology9, 412–418, 1972.
Gazzaniga, M. S.:The Bisected Brain. New York, Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1970.
Gruzelier, J. and Venables, P. H.: Bimodality and lateral asymmetry of skin conductance orienting activity in schizophrenics: replication and evidence of lateral asymmetry in patients with depression and disorders of personality. Biological Psychiatry8, 55–73, 1974.
Gruzelier, J. and Venables, P. H.: Skin conductance responses to tones with and without attentional significance in schizophrenic and non-schizophrenic psychiatric patients. Neuropsychologica11, 221–230, 1973.
Gur, R. C. and Gur, R. E.: Handedness, sex, and eyedness as moderating variables in the relation between hypnotic susceptibility and functional brain asymmetry. Journal of Abnormal Psychology83, 635–643, 1974.
Gur, R. E.: Conjugate lateral eye movements as an index of hemispheric activation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology31, 751–757, 1975.
Gur, R. E., Gur, R. C. and Harris, L. J.: Cerebral activation, as measured by subjects’ lateral eye movements, is influenced by experimenter location. Neuropsychologia13, 35–44, 1975.
Hines, D.: Visual information processing in the left and right hemispheres. Neuropsychologica16, 593–600, 1978.
Holloway, F. A. and Parsons, O.: Unilateral brain damage and bilateral skin conductance levels in humans. Psychophysiology6, 138–148, 1969.
Kershner, J. R.: Ocular-manual laterality and hemispheric specialization. Cortex10, 293–302, 1974.
Ketterer, M. W. and Smith, B. D.: Bilateral electrodermal activity, lateralized cerebral processing and sex. Psychophysiology14, 513–516, 1977.
Kimura, D.: Dual functional asymmetry of the brain in visual perception. Neuropsychologica4, 275–285, 1966.
Kimura, D. and Durnford, M.: Normal studies on the function of the right hemisphere in vision.In Dimond, S. J. and Beaumont, J. G. (eds.):Hemisphere Function in the Human Brain. New York, John Wiley and Sons, 1974.
Lacroix, J. M. and Comper, P.: Lateralization in the electrodermal system as a function of cognitive/ hemispheric manipulations. Psychophysiology16, 116–129, 1979.
Lykken, D. and Venables, P.: Direct measurement of skin conductance: a proposal for standardization. Psychophysiology8, 656–672, 1971.
McKeever, W. F. and Huling, M.: Left-cerebral hemisphere superiority in tachistoscopic word recognition performances. Perceptual & Motor Skills30, 763–766, 1970.
Myslobotsky, M. S. and Rattok, J.: Bilateral electrodermal activity in waking man. Acta Psychologica41, 273–282, 1977.
Obrist, P.: Skin resistance levels and galvanic skin response: unilateral differences. Science139, 227–228, 1963.
Oscar-Berman, M. and Gade, A.: Electrodermal measures of arousal after cortical or subcortical human brain damage.In Kimmel, H. D., Van Olst, J. and Orlebeke, J. (eds.):The Orienting Reflex in Humans. Hillsdale, N. J., Lawrence Erlbaum Associated, 1978.
Overton, W. and Wiener, M.: Visual field position and word recognition thresholds. Journal of Experimental Psychology71, 249–253, 1966.
Paivio, A., Yuille, J. C. and Madigan, S. A.: Concreteness, imagery and meaningfulness values for 925 nouns. Journal of Experimental Psychology, Monograph Supplement, Part 2,76, 1–25, 1968.
Semmes, J.: Hemispheric specialization: a possible clue to mechanism. Neuropsychologica6, 11–26, 1968.
Springer, S.: Tachistoscopic and dichotic listening investigations of laterality in normal human subjects.In Hamad, S., Doty, R. W., Goldstein, L., Jaynes, J. and Krauthamer, G. (eds.):Lateralization in the Nervous System. New York, Academic Press, 1977.
Vanderplas, J. M. and Garvin, E. A.: The associative value of random shapes. Journal of Experimental Psychology,57, 147–154, 1959a.
Varni, J. G.: Learned asymmetry of localized electrodermal responses. Psychophysiology12, 41–45, 1975.
Venables, P. and Christie, M. J.: Mechanisms, instrumentation, recording techniques, and quantification of responses.In Prokasy, W. F. and Raskin, D. C. (eds.):Electrodermal Activity in Psychological Research. New York, Academic Press, 1973.
Wang, G. H.:The Neural Control of Sweating. Madison, University of Wisconsin Press, 1964.
About this article
Cite this article
Gross, J.S., Stern, J.A. An investigation of bilateral asymmetries in electrodermal activity. Pav. J. Biol. Sci. 15, 74–81 (1980). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF03003686
- Cognitive Style
- Skin Conductance
- Word Stimulus
- Shape Condition
- Electrodermal Activity