Sunteți pe pagina 1din 23


Alpha Brainwave Feedback

Alpha wave biofeedback is a type of feedback that measures the alpha waves
of the brain. Through this kind of monitoring, one would be able to control
the amount and frequency of the alpha waves and create a relaxed and
positive mental state for oneself.

What are Alpha waves?

Alpha waves are considered one of five brain waves. The other four are
Delta, Theta, Beta and Gamma waves and are measured by an
electroencephalograph or EEG. Brain waves are tiny oscillating voltages, no
more than a few millionths of a volt, but each wave will cycle at a different
frequency. Alpha waves normally cycle at a frequency of 8-12 Hz and
indicate that the brain is in a conscious and pleasurable state. Meditation,
yoga or even being in an inebriated state will allow a person to experience
Alpha waves.

The oscillations of Alpha waves are ranged in the middle of the brain wave
spectrum. They are considered to be the safest and healthiest brain wave
range. Below them are Delta and Theta waves, which are associated with
unconsciousness and deep-sleep. Beta waves oscillate at one level above
Alpha and usually coincide with a state of intense concentration or alertness.
If Beta waves were maintained for long periods of time, one would begin to
experience feelings of fear or anxiety. However, this brain state is important
in times of danger or fight or flight situations where mental alertness is
essential. Gamma waves cycle at the highest frequency and are considered
to be quite dangerous to the brain.

Alpha waves are more commonly found in individuals who are highly creative
or extroverted and even in children. On the whole, children experience Alpha
wave activity in greater number than adults do. Typically, as we age, our
brain wave pattern will shift away from Alpha to Beta. This is why it is
important for adults to actively increase their Alpha wave production, as it
would be a huge benefit for them.

Where Alpha Waves Come From

Electrical rhythms and brain activity was first discovered in animals in 1875
by English scientist Richard Caton. This finding helped pave the way for
German researcher Hans Berger who, in 1924, proved that humans also
have these same electrical brain rhythms. Berger used his invention, the EEG
machine, to discover Bergers waves or what we call Alpha waves. They are
named as such because they were the first brain waves to be discovered,
hence the word alpha, which is the first letter of the Greek alphabet.
It is believed that Alpha waves are produced in the thalamus, located in the
brain stem and is the result of the body and mind being in a very relaxed
state. In fact, even the simple act of closing your eyes will produce Alpha
waves in your brain. Some feel that when the body is in a relaxed state, it
will send, through the spinal cord, signals to the thalamus in order for the
brain to interpret the signals. These signals are then interpreted as Alpha
waves. In this case, the thalamus acts almost as a switching point or
gateway to direct these signals to the brain in much the same way that
signals meant to move your hands or feet are siphoned to the part of the
brain that is meant to handle that information. Though this theory on how
Alpha waves are generated and interpreted in the brain is popular, it has not
yet gained wide recognition in scientific quarters. The fact is Alpha waves are
resulted from a combination of complex factors within the body such as the
nervous system, brain metabolism and the age of an individual.

We can easily measure the strength and degree of Alpha waves and other
brain activity with the use of the EEG device. The device is particularly useful

in determining a subjects state of consciousness, which will in turn inform

that person what brain wave level they are functioning on and then be able
to consciously manipulate their wave level to get it to Alpha. In a sense, a
person learns to control their brain waves. However, keep in mind that with
brain wave therapy one is not controlling the actual electrical and synaptic
connections in the brain, but rather a person learns to control the subjective
events that the brain associates with Alpha signals. In other words, we are
learning to control our own experiences and how we manifest external

Why Alpha Waves Are Good For You

There are many different benefits that Alpha wave therapy can give a
person, if that person is willing to take the time to learn it. To fully
experience Alpha waves, all a person would have to do is put themselves in a
completely relaxed state. By doing so, one can immediately reduce their
stress level and even be able to think clearer. Meditation will also help to
achieve this.

Alpha wave therapy is especially useful in enhancing creativity. Artists,

innovators and creative thinkers typically have higher levels of Alpha wave
activity. It also helps to augment a persons problem solving skills by
integrating both hemispheres of the brain for increased communication.

Athletes can also benefit from Alpha waves. Studies have shown that
successful athletes often have a high level of Alpha activity. The waves help
to enhance peek performance by blasting the brain just before a big
competition or important moment in a game, such as a big shot in a
basketball game or a big hit in baseball.
Alpha waves are also responsible for improving the immune system. It has
been associated with increased health and recovery from illness. Stress is a
huge detriment to a persons immune system and can lead to various
physical illnesses. By using Alpha waves to reduce your stress level and, in
effect, the strain on your immune system, you run a lower risk of developing
threatening ailments. In fact, Alpha waves provide a natural substitute for

antidepressants by releasing serotonin into the brain. When a person is

depressed, serotonin levels drop in the brain. Alpha waves help to raise the
level, allowing a person to feel better about themselves.

Another important benefit of Alpha waves is its function in helping to ward

off insomnia. Sleeping regularly is very important for our bodies and brain.
In addition to recharging our batteries, sleep also enables our brain to
process and transfer information we receive during the day from short term
to long-term memory. Being able to relax and reach a state of Alpha just
before sleep has proven to be an effective therapy for insomniacs.

Alpha wave feedback is an extremely beneficial way to relieve stress and counter many
bodily and mental ailments. It is low risk to apply and with even a few weeks of training,
you too can experience self-improvement on a level comparable with mediators with
twenty years of training.

Biofeedback is a technique that allows people to be aware of certain
biological and physiological changes in their bodies as well as allow them to
properly respond to such changes, and thus improve their health.
People use biofeedback devices everyday without even knowing it, such as
thermometers, blood pressure machines and scales. These devices help give
a person an inner look at their bodies and take the necessary steps to cure
a problem. For instance, if a thermometer tells you that you have a fever,
you will take an acetaminophen and get plenty of rest, if you have high blood
pressure a doctor will prescribe pills to help bring it down.
The use of biofeedback, however, can also delve into more complex areas of the
human body. Doctors are able to use the technique to help diagnose issues such

mental disorders

heart problems


digestive disorders




drug addictions




Origins of Biofeedback
Though the term biofeedback was not introduced to our vocabulary until the
late 1960s, the practices of biofeedback, self-regulation and bodily control,
have been around for thousands of years. Yogis used meditation as a way to
control their heart rate and autonomic nervous system, thus taking control
of their bodies and allowing for the reduction of stress and other physical
However, the first modern day research of biofeedback can be traced to the
work of Edmund Jacobson and Johann Schultz, who both helped to develop
self-regulatory relaxation techniques on a scientific level. Jacobson
developed progressive relaxation technique, which is a technique where by a
person will tense and relax the muscles in their body in an effort to create
whole body relaxation, while Schultz worked to develop the idea of autogenic
relaxation or self-generation.
By the 1960s, many researchers were experimenting with the effects of
biofeedback. Three such researchers, known as The Fathers of
Biofeedback, were Neal Miller, John Basmajian and Joe Kamiya.
Miller performed extensive behavioral research with animals and discovered,
under certain conditions, they could be trained to control their body
functions. Basmanjian is best known for his work in electromyography (EMG)
and rehabilitation science, while Joe Kamiya is the originator of
neurofeedback technology.
Their work helped formulate the emergence of a variety of biofeedback
techniques, such as thermal biofeedback, EMG, EEG and galvanic skin
response (GSR).
How It Works

Biofeedback machines can work in a number of different ways. One of the

more well-known examples of biofeedback is GSR. A GSR machine measures
the activity of the mind through physical responses from the body, such as
sweat secretion and heart rate, thus giving an indication of the stress level
or anxiety of a person. A lie detector is an example of a GSR machine. The
device reads a persons stress level by using two electrodes to measure
changes in the electrical resistance of the skin. The device then detects
these changes and records the information either digitally or through an
auditory signal.
GSR is also helpful in monitoring and controlling the effects of stress in a
person, as well as hypertension, anxiety, and some speech impediments
such as stuttering. By measuring the physical effects of how stress manifests
itself in the human body, doctors and medical researchers are better able to
address the problem and come up with a diagnosis.
Other types of biofeedback devices that measure stress levels in the body
are a thermal device, which monitors the temperature of the skin where in a
person can be trained to control it. An EMG device uses electrodes placed in
certain spots on a persons body to measure muscle activity and tenseness.
Finally, an EEG biofeedback machine monitors brainwaves. Through time and
training, a person can learn to turn those brain waves into alpha waves and
achieve a state of mental relaxation. This can be used to help alleviate
problems caused by depression, stress and insomnia.
Biofeedback Today
Though biofeedback is best known to help alleviate stress and muscle
tension, scientists today have been developing new purposes for it. One such
purpose is the alleviation of motion sickness. This was originally developed
by NASA as a way for astronauts to contend the effects of motion sickness in
space. The use of biofeedback for this purpose is now being tried on people
who often suffer from motion sickness in a car or on a plane.
Another application that is being studied in combination with biofeedback is
hypnosis, or hypnotherapy. A benefit of using this method is a person can
quickly respond to imagery and verbal suggestions to enter a relaxed mental
state and shift focus away from pain or even change the nature of the pain
they are experiencing. It also works well in patients suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder or complications involving trauma from accidents.

What makes biofeedback such a rising and popular method of therapy is that
it puts the individual in control of his or her own body. Treatment for a
particular ailment comes directly from learning what your body is telling you
and then consequently working to make the appropriate changes.
As with all treatments, practice and repetition make perfect, but it is
important to remember that biofeedback is not medicine and should not
replace traditional medical care. It should rather be used as a supplement
and, like with all supplements, used under the direction of a medical
About the stress
What is Stress? Stress is a physiological condition in which the body becomes
excited to face an emergency situation. A number of physiological changes
including increase in heart rate, breathing rate etc occurs during a high stress
state. These hormone triggered changes makes the body alert to face the
But a permanent stress condition is harmful to the body and may results in many
health problems. Many relaxation techniques are now in practice to keep the body
in relaxed condition. The circuit described here is useful to monitor the stress
level before and after practicing a relaxation exercise.
Galvanic Skin Response GSR
The circuit exploits the Galvanic skin response as an indicator of stress. The
electrical conductivity of the skin varies depending on the stress level of the body.
In the relaxed state, skin offers high resistance about 2 Meg ohms or more but it
reduces to 25K or less in a stressful condition. The physiological changes in the
body during high stress causes sweating and leakage of water from the blood
vessels in the skin. This makes the skin moist and electrical conductivity
increases. This is specially noticed in the left palm and fingers.

Circuito Intermitente
The next version of audio biofeedback produces an intermittent sound like a siren, but it is controlled by the
electrodes.The effect obtained from the circuit shown in Figure 3.3.4 is quite different from the previous versions.
The loudspeaker will produce bips at a rate that is dependent on the pressure exerted on the electrodes. Figure
3.3.5 shows the wave shapes in different conditions of operation for the circuit.

The circuit uses the 4093 1C as its base, as in the original basic version, but in this configuration two gates are
used as oscillators. One of them has its frequency dependent on the amount of resistance between the electrodes
XI and X2, that is, the resistance of the skin of the subject if it is a person. This oscillator, running at a very low
frequency (between 0.1 and 5 Hz), controls a second oscillator running also at a low frequency but a little
higher, between 500 and 1,000 Hz.
The result is an intermittent signal, applied to the base of a medium-power NPN transistor. This transistor has the
loudspeaker as its load.
The sound is loud depending on the power supply voltage and loudspeaker. Power that ranges from 200
milliwatts (mW) to 1 watt will be produced from the supply. As in the previous versions, do not power the
circuit from transformerless power supplies.
The circuit can be mounted on a PCB or solderless board. 01 must be mounted on a heatsink. If you want to
supply more power to the sound, power the circuit from a 12-volt supply and replace Q1 by aTIP31.

Testing and Using

Power the circuit on and place your fingers on the electrodes. The electrodes must be separated, but you must touch
them at the same time.The sound will change as long you press and release your fingers, changing the pressure on the
The frequency of both the tone and the intermit- tence can be changed by replacing Cl and C2.Try experimenting
with these components according to the applications.
A sensitivity control can also be added. It is a 4.7 Mfl potentiometer between pin 1 and 2 of the IC and the ()-voll
line. The electrodes are the same as those described in the basic project.

Parts List




4093 CMOS integrated circuit

BD135 NPN medium- power silicon transistor
10 kOhms x 1/8 W resistor, brown, black, orange
22 kOhms x 1/8 W resistor, red, red, orange
1 kOhms x 1/8 VI resistor, brown, black, red
1 MOhms potentiometer, lin or log
0.47 microfaradios o 1 microfaradios - polyester or electrolytic
0.047 microfaradios x 12 volts - polyester or electrolytic capacitor
4 or 8-ohm - small loudspeaker
3.3.M Biofeedback producing
intermittent sounds



6 V power supply or cells

PCB, Heatsink for Q1, cell holder or power supply, plastic box, wires,
solder, etc

Circuito Radio Shack

The schematic for the kit version is typical for this kind of resistance to frequency
converter. Two transistors (Q2 and Q3) are used has a high gain non-inverting amplifier
which oscillates due to a capacitor C1 connected for positive feedback. You can find
schematics for simple oscillators like this all over the place. A third transistor Q1 is used to
alter the frequency of the oscillator by messing with the bias of Q2. Q2 was originally a
germanium, but Ive found that a silicon PNP works about as well.

Parts List





10 Ohms x 1/8 W resistor
18 Ohms x 1/8 W resistor
47 Ohms x 1/8 W resistor
47 kOhms x 1/8 W resistor
100 kOhms x 1/8 W resistor
0.47 microfaradios polyester or electrolytic capacitor
4 or 8-ohm - small loudspeaker
On/off switch
9 V power supply or cells
PCB, cell holder or power supply, plastic box, wires, solder, etc

Circuito Stress Monitor Circuit diagram

Below is basically the schematic diagram for the GSR2. Ive left out a few things they did for
an earphone connection. They are only using the Voltage Controlled Oscillator VCO part of
the 4046 IC. By selecting the VCO center frequency (f0) to be around 30kHz, they get a lot of
frequency variation around 400Hz with only a little change in voltage. That saves having a
preamplifier to boost the relatively small GSR signal.


Parts List


27 kOhms x 1/8 W resistor
500 kOhms x 1/8 W resistor
330 kOhms x 1/8 W resistor
1 kOhms x 1/8 W resistor
47 kOhms x 1/8 W resistor
0.001 microfaradios polyester or electrolytic capacitor



Piezo speaker
On/off switch
9 V power supply or cells
PCB, cell holder or power supply, plastic box, wires, solder, etc

Circuito GSR Galvanic Skin Response

Front end of the circuit has a voltage sensor comprising two touch pads and a signal amplifier.
The touch pads along with R1 and VR1 forms a bridge to give a variable voltage into the input of
IC1 based on the conductivity of the skin. When the touch pads make contact with the skin of
first and middle fingers of left hand, current passes from pad 1 to pad 2 through the skin. The
skin between the touch pads act as a variable resistor and the current passing through it depends


on the resistance of the skin, that in turn depends on the stress level.
The variable voltage level is sensed by IC1 and it gives an amplified variable output. That is the
output of IC1 depends on the current flowing through the skin.TL071 is a JFET input op amp with
sensitive inputs so that it can sense even minute current in its inputs. Resistor R2 and capacitor
C1 gives sufficient feed back to IC1 to give maximum gain. Regulator IC7805 gives fixed 5 volts
to the bridge for accurate measurement of skin conductivity. IC2 is the monolithic integrated
circuit with ten current sinking outputs (pin18-pin10 and pin1). It gives a logarithmic LED display.
The input of LM3915 is very sensitive and its internal circuit is referenced at 1.25 volts. Each
output from pin 18 to pin 1 sinks current when the input receives an increment of 125 milli volts.
Resistor R4 determines the current flowing through the LEDs and thus its brightness. Pin 9 of IC
is the mode selector and it tied to the positive supply to get a Bar mode display. If it left free, IC
will give Dot mode display..

ICTL071 and LM 3915 Pin out


Do some checking
After wearing the touch pads on left fingers, wait for few minutes to stabilize the circuit. Keep
body and mind relaxed for some time. Adjust VR1 till one or two LEDs connected to pins 18 and
17 just glows. Adjust VR2 also to keep these LEDs glowing. This can be considered as the relaxed
state provided your body is truly relaxed. Measure the stress level after a busy schedule and see
that more LEDs light up indicating the high stress level. Since the skin conductivity is different in
different persons, setting of VR1 and VR2 is necessary for each person

LM3915 datasheet
7805 datasheet
TL071 datasheet

Parts List


100 kOhms x 1/8 W resistor
3.9 MOhms x 1/8 W resistor
1 kOhms x 1/8 W resistor
470 Ohms x 1/8 W resistor
100 kOhms potenciometro
50 kOhms potenciometro
0.1 microfaradios polyester or electrolytic capacitor
6 micro LEDS
On/off switch
9 V power supply or cells
PCB, cell holder or power supply, plastic box, wires, solder, etc

Circuito Relaxation monitor

The skin resistance influence the oscillator frequency that is built with unijonction transistor T2.


Both electrodes, which form a ring, are applied to two fingers of a hand. A speaker is used for
hearing the sound whose height is a measure of the state of relaxation. The more profound state
of relaxation is, the sound frequency is lower.
The second oscillator, built with transistor T1, also produce a sound. In this case you can adjust
the height of sound with potentiometer P1, at the frequency of the other oscillator, corresponding
to the deepest state of relaxation. If the signals of the two systems are run separately in a stereo
headset, the maximum relaxation is achieved when the right tone sounds at the same height at
the left.

Parts List


15 kOhms x 1/8 W resistor
470 Ohms x 1/8 W resistor
470 Ohms x 1/8 W resistor
15 kOhms x 1/8 W resistor
470 kOhms Potenciometro
1 nanofaradio
Earphones 600 2000 ohms
On/off switch
9 V power supply or cells
PCB, cell holder or power supply, plastic box, wires, solder, etc


GSR Experiments
Experiments from the Science Fair Electronic Lie Detector Project Kit copyright 1970 by
Radio Shack and reprinted here with permission. However, they can be used with any GSR
measuring device.


EXPERIMENT 1 Breathing
Ask the subject to take a very deep breath. You will observe the sound increases in pitch. This
indicates his skin resistance has dropped due to the activity of the sweat glands. The slight
muscular effort of taking a deep breath causes the sympathetic nervous system to send
impulses to the sweat glands which in turn reduces the skin resistance. The change in skin
resistance is called a GALVANIC SKIN RESPONSE. It is usually abbreviated to GSR by
psychologists. If you are acting as the subject, can you detect your normal breathing cycles?
There are great individual differences which will be observed in these experiments. Some
people produce large responses just by talking. Conversely, others will produce only a slight
response even it they are kicked in the shins.

EXPERIMENT 2 Muscle Tension

Direct the subject to squeeze a rubber ball hard for several seconds, or curl his toes and
release them. Next, tense the stomach muscles, or same similar activity requiring muscular
exertion. Which activity produces the most response? In doing these experiments the subject
should keep the hand with the electrodes very still if possible. Allow at least 15 to 20 seconds
for rest between tests

EXPERIMENT 3 The Effect of Temperature on the Galvanic Skin Response

Request the subject to stand outside for a few minutes if it is cold and repeat experiment 1.
What results do you get? Give him a few minutes to warm up and try the experiment again.
Are the results any different? If possible have the subject remain in a very warm place for a
while and try Experiment 1 on him. Have him hold some ice cubes for a short interval; re-test

EXPERIMENT 4 Position of the Electrodes

By now you have probably discovered that a deep breath will usually give a good galvanic
response. Try placing one electrode on one hand and one electrode on the other hand. Do you
notice any difference? If you are careful, you can try holding the electrodes firmly to other
places of the skin. Can you still get good results? As a result of this experiment, what
conclusions con you draw about the distribution of sweat glands in the skin?

EXPERIMENT 5 Experiments With More Than One Person


Put one electrode on one person and the other electrode on another person. Have the two
people hold each others hands which are not connected to the electrodes. Try any of the
previous experiments on each person separately and on both together. Or place several
persons in a chain with the electrodes at the end of the chain, and try experiments on these
subjects tied together in series like batteries or other electric elements.

EXPERIMENT 6 The Effects of Relaxation

Place the electrodes on a subject as previously described. Instruct him to relax as much as
possible. Have him shut his eyes and sit or lie quietly. What happens? When a person relaxes
his skin resistance increases The instrument reflects this change. Perhaps you can see how a
device might be made which would wake a person up whenever he fell asleep.

EXPERIMENT 7 The Effects of Pain

Ask the subject to pinch himself or bite his lip or finger. Any painful stimulus will produce
large galvanic skin responses. In general the instrument will indicate strong, pleasant or
unpleasant emotions. It will also react when a subject is startled, under tension, nervous, or
exerting unusual mental effort. The experiments outlined below are just some of the many
possible ones that can be tried

EXPERIMENT 8 The Startle Response

When the electrodes have been placed on a subject and he has remained quiet for 30 seconds,
suddenly clap your hands loudly together, or strike your fist on the table. You will observe a
large galvanic skin response. You will notice that the instrument does not respond until some
time after the strong stimulus. This time delay is typical with the galvanic skin response and is
designated as the LATENCY of the response. It may vary from one to three seconds. Part of
the reason for the time delay or latency of response is the addition of a chemical reaction with
the electrical reaction. A chemical reaction is usually slower in response than electrical
reactions. Try different methods of startling the subject, such as a flash of light, a slight
electric shock. etc. A pronounced reaction may result from a very mild stimulus.

EXPERIMENT 9 Adaptation and Recovery

Select a standard method of startling the subject which can be regulated and repeated at
approximately the same strength every time. Repeat this stimulus at intervals of not less than
30 seconds. What happens to the galvanic skin response? You will note that they rapidly

decrease until practically no response can be observed. This reaction is called ADAPTATION
by psychologists Next, do not startle the subject for several minutes. It is advisable to loosen
or remove the electrodes occasionally to allow the blood to flow and the skin to breathe.
Suddenly repeat the startle stimulus to the subject. You will probably observe a large galvanic
skin response. This is called RECOVERY. How many trials does it take for adaptation to reoccur now as compared with the first time?

EXPERIMENT 10 Word Association Tests

Most sensory stimuli so far considered have acted directly, or nearly so, on the nervous system
to produce a galvanic skin response. If abstract stimuli such as words are presented to the
subject, the effect on the nervous system is usually indirect and due to the meanings
associated with the words. Pictures or music may also produce galvanic skin response.
Psychologists have often tested the effect of words on subjects by presenting them one at a
time and noting their reactions. There ore some words which nearly all people will react to
and others which will produce no noticeable reaction. Below is a list of words which you con
read to a subject and observe his galvanic skin responses. Read the words slowly and clearly.
Pause at least three seconds between each word to allow time for a reaction to occur;
otherwise you will not be able to tell which words are associated with large responses. The
words with the asterisk have been found to produce galvanic skin responses in most subjects.
You can make up your own:

You can easily observe an adaptation effect by repeating those words to which the subject gave
large responses.

EXPERIMENT 11 Apprehension
Most subjects will give a galvanic skin response if they are apprehensive or if they expect that
something is about to happen to them. You may startle a subject by a loud noise or a sudden
light blow, or you may pinch him but all this is not necessary. Merely remark casually to on

onlooker Lets see what a good pinch will do. and reach out a hand toward the subject.
This will often give nearly as large o response as on actual pinch. You may pretend to touch
electric wires to the subject to give him a shock and also obtain a galvanic skin response.
These results depend on many factors, such as your personality, the subjects personality, how
well the subject knows you, how many people are present and how many of them are strangers
to the subject. It is difficult to control all these factors and you should not be surprised if you
do not obtain consistent results.

EXPERIMENT 12 The Effect of Touch

It is possible to use very weak stimuli with a subject who is apprehensive or otherwise a bit
frightened of this instrument. Merely reach out and touch the subject lightly on the hand. You
may after, obtain a large galvanic skin response with this very slight stimulus. How do you
account for this?

EXPERIMENT 13 Mental Effort

Any difficult mental task will often produce a galvanic skin response. Ask a subject to solve an
arithmetic problem in his head such as, what does 6+3-5 x 4+7+836 = ? You may also try
asking him to solve a difficult problem, define a hard word, spell a difficult word, read small
print at a great distance, etc.

Ask the subject to write a number from 0 to 10 on a piece of paper. No one should watch him
or look at the number. Then make repeated guesses of the number. When you guess the
correct number, the instrument should show it. The subject may try to fool the device by
laughing, tensing, coughing, or relaxing as much as possible, You may try other variations of
this by using playing cords or by having the subject hide an abject while others are out of the
room. The subject may either deny everything or may say nothing

EXPERIMENT 15 A Lie Detector

Ask the subject a few simple questions for which you know the correct answer, and observe his
response. A lie will be indicated by a galvanic skin response a lowering of skin resistance.
This will occur from one to four seconds after the answer has been given. For this reason, it is

important to space the questions at least ten seconds apart. A simple question such as how
tall are you? will usually produce a large response it the person lies about it Sometimes a
response will be observed before the question is actually asked. This is a result of the
emotional activity which the person undergoes when he anticipates a revealing question. One
simple procedure is to show the subject a playing card and ask him to name it. After a few
preliminary trials where he tells the truth (by request) he may then be permitted to lie. The
first lie will probably be clearly indicated. After catching a subject once in a lie, drop this
method because most people quickly became practiced at lying about such a simple thing. A
similar technique can be attempted by using a coin and asking the subject to name it after it is
flipped and shown to him Note: People vary greatly in their responses. Some are very
practiced liars, and a simple, non-emotional or unimportant lie can readily be told without
being detected by this device. Also, nearly everyone can learn, in the process described above,
to lie in a relaxed manner. These factors require that the operator be both skilled and
practiced in the measurement of the galvanic skin response

EXPERIMENT 16 Conditioning
This is a difficult experiment to do, even for professional psychologists, so do not be
concerned if you do not obtain good results. Some subjects are better for this experiment than
others and you may have to try two or three. Instruct the subject to assume a relaxed position.
Get two stimuli ready for presentation to the subject. One of the stimuli should be very weak
so that by itself it will not produce a galvanic skin response. This may be a small light, a quiet
doorbell, or a spoken word. The second stimulus should be strong enough to definitely
produce a good galvanic skin response. It may be a very loud sound, such as that made by a
hammer on a pan, or it may be a light blow on the arm or a pinch. etc. First demonstrate that
the weak stimulus alone produces no galvanic skin response. Then present both stimuli at
nearly the same time to the subject. (You may need two people to do this.) For best results the
second, strong stimulus should be given about one-half second after the weak stimulus.
Repeat this at intervals of about thirty seconds for three to six times. Then, without
forewarning the subject, do not give him the second, strong stimulus. Do you observe that he
gives a good galvanic skin response anyway? If he does, he is said to be CONDITIONED. He
has responded to the weak stimulus as if it were the strong stimulus. He is apparently unable
to distinguish the two stimuli. The response resulting from the weak stimulus which formerly
did not produce a response is said to be a CONDITIONED RESPONSE.

EXPERIMENT 17 Extinction of a Conditioned Response


Repeat Experiment 16 to obtain a strong conditioned response. His conditioned response will
probably be less. Repeat the weak stimulus again at intervals and you will observe that his
galvanic skin response will gradually decrease and soon became unobservable. (This is similar
to the adaptation experiment.) This process is called EXTINCTION.

EXPERIMENT 18 Spontaneous Recovery

Repeat Experiment 17. Give the subject a ten or fifteen minute rest and then attach the
electrodes to him again. Do not tell him what you are going to do, and present to him the first
weak stimulus again. You may observe that he again gives a conditioned response. This is
called SPONTANEOUS RECOVERY. The initial weak stimulus has again recovered its power
to produce a strong response. You can again extinguish this spontaneous recovery and after a
further rest observe a second recovery. You can recondition him at any time by presenting
both stimuli together as in Experiment 16. Try variations of this experiment and others
described in this manual and see what you can discover Psychology is still an open science.