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This study examined relationships between individual differences in the spontaneous fluctuation rate of electrodermal activity (EDA lability) and a battery of personality measures. In contrast to previous work, which emphasizes cognitive correlates of EDA lability, in this study a broad-band personality inventory and specific emotion-relevant personality dispositions were administered. A sample of 62 male and female undergraduates completed a battery of personality questionnaires and a laboratory session where spontaneous, nonspecific skin conductance responses were recorded while the subject was at rest in a sound attenuated and dimly lit room. The strongest personality correlate of resting EDA lability, consistent across sexes, was neuroticism (N), with a high N Ss exhibiting more spontaneous sympathetic nervous system activity than low N Ss. Beyond Neuroticism, other results reveal a different pattern of personality correlates of EDA lability in men and women. Discussion focuses on possible sources for this sex difference.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 1995

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