University of Twente Student Theses


The intra-individual relationship between core affect and skin conductance in daily life : An experience-sampling study

Franke, L. (2019) The intra-individual relationship between core affect and skin conductance in daily life : An experience-sampling study.

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Abstract:Objective. In the last few years, there has been an increasing interest in how physiological signals, such as skin conductance, are related to emotions and in whether wearable technology can be used to benefit from this relationship. Although a coherence between the two constructs is often postulated, earlier studies found inconsistent results. Importantly, almost none of them focused on emotions in a daily life setting and on the individual level. Based on that, the current study investigated the relationship between skin conductance and self-reported core affect – as a means to measure emotions – on an intra-individual level and in an everyday context. Method. In total 23 subjects, mainly German and Dutch, with an age ranging between 19 and 70 participated. Their level of SC, measured with the E4 wearable by Empatica, as well as their self-reported core affect, measured with a smartphone application, were captured for 7 days through the method of experience sampling. The correlations were applied for each individual separately. Results. In contrast to most inter-individual studies, no clear relationship was found between the core affect dimensions and skin conductance. Most individuals did show no or very weak associations. Regarding the arousal dimension the average intra-individual correlation was -.065 (SD = .29) with 95% CI [-.193, .064]. The mean of the intra-individual correlation regarding the valence dimension was .032 (SD = .238) with 95% CI [-.08, .126]. Discussion. On the individual level, the postulated coherence between physiological signals and emotions was not substantiated which challenges the findings from earlier research. The current study addressed the previous methodological difficulties to increase the generalizability to the individual level and to an everyday context. It is suggested to compare healthy individuals with individuals suffering from emotion recognition difficulties and to investigate other factors that might be of higher importance, such as personality traits or interoceptive awareness.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology BSc (56604)
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