Can you give me a hand? A comparison of hands and feet as optimal anatomical sites for skin conductance recording


  • The authors wish to acknowledge Douglas Schultz for his helpful correspondence and for generously providing us with materials used by Schultz and Helmstetter (2010). We also gratefully acknowledge Zara Butte for assistance with data collection and data scoring.


The fingers and feet have long been accepted as optimal anatomical recording sites for electrodermal activity. The available literature suggests that the feet are more responsive than the fingers. The present report compared skin conductance level (SCL) and responses (SCRs) from the left foot and the distal phalanges of the fingers on the nondominant hand among 19 participants. The principal results were (a) SCRs recorded from the fingers were significantly larger and more frequent with shorter latencies than SCRs from the foot, (b) SCL from the fingers was significantly higher than from the foot, (c) the fingers exhibited significantly greater discrimination conditioning than the foot, and (d) skin conductance measures recorded from the fingers and foot were significantly positively correlated. Specifically, our results demonstrate that the distal phalanges of the fingers are electrodermally more responsive than the abductor hallucis area of the foot.