• Skin conductance orienting;
  • Magnetic resonance imaging;
  • Frontal lobes;
  • Pons;
  • Third ventricle;
  • Amygdala;
  • Cerebellum;
  • Temporal cortex;
  • Dorsolateral prefrontal cortex;
  • Arousal


Although little is known about the neuroanatomical basis of skin conductance orienting in intact normal humans, the limited literature on animals and humans with neurological and clinical disorders implicate prefrontal, temporal/amygdala, and pons brain areas in mediating skin conductance orienting. This study relates area of these structures using magnetic resonance imaging techniques to skin conductance orienting responses in 17 normal humans in order to test hypotheses that larger area of these excitatory structures will be associated with more orienting responses. Left and right hand skin conductance orienting was significantly associated with left and right prefrontal area (r=.44-.60), area of the pons (r=.43-.54), and left but not right temporal/amygdala area (r=.47-.53). No relationships were observed with areas thought to be unrelated to skin conductance activity (cerebellum, nonfrontal cortical area), medial prefrontal cortex, or the third ventricle. This appears to be the first study relating brain structure to skin conductance orienting in intact normal humans. Although preliminary at the present time, these results implicate prefrontal, pons, and temporal/amygdala areas in the mediation of skin conductance orienting in normal humans.