Our skin tells everything and reveals a lot of information on how we feel when we’re exposed to emotionally loaded images, videos, events, or other kinds of stimuli – both positive (“aww, how cute!”) and negative (“yikes!”). No matter whether we are stressed, nervous, fearful, psyched up, stoked, baffled, or surprised - whenever we are emotionally aroused, the electrical conductivity of our skin subtly changes.
Galvanic Skin Response (GSR), also referred to as Electrodermal Activity (EDA), is one of the most sensitive measures for emotional arousal. GSR originates from the autonomic activation of sweat glands in the skin. The sweating on hands and feet is triggered by emotional stimulation: Whenever we are emotionally aroused, the GSR data shows distinctive patterns that are visible with bare eyes and that can be quantified statistically.
What makes GSR such a valuable biometric signal in assessing emotional behavior?
With GSR, you can tap into unconscious behavior that is not under cognitive control. Skin conductivity is solely modulated by autonomic sympathetic activity that drives bodily processes, cognitive and emotional states as well as cognition on an entirely subconscious level. We simply cannot consciously control the level of skin conductivity. Exactly this circumstance renders GSR the perfect marker for emotional arousal as it offers undiluted insights into physiological and psychological processes of a person.
Source: iMotions 2017