Neuroticism is associated with larger and more prolonged electrodermal responses to emotionally evocative pictures

Psychophysiology. 2007 Sep;44(5):823-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8986.2007.00551.x. Epub 2007 Jun 26.


Elevated neuroticism is associated with increased psychological reactivity to stressors. Research on individual differences and physiological reactivity (e.g., electrodermal activity), however, has focused on clinical samples and measures of basal activity (e.g., nonspecific skin conductance responses) or responses to nonaffective stimuli. Surprisingly, there is a dearth of work on physiological reactivity to emotional stimuli as a function of neuroticism. Thus, the authors sought to examine the relationship between neuroticism and skin conductance reactivity to emotionally evocative pictures in a nonclinical sample. Individuals higher in neuroticism exhibited both greater skin conductance reactivity to emotional (and particularly aversive) pictures as well as more extended reactivity than did emotionally stable individuals. Implications for health are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Emotions / physiology*
  • Extraversion, Psychological
  • Female
  • Galvanic Skin Response / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Neurotic Disorders / psychology*
  • Personality Tests
  • Photic Stimulation