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Skin conductance habituation was compared between 38 patients meeting DSM-III criteria for Panic Disorder and 29 normal controls. Approximately half of each group was randomly assigned to be given 100 dB SPL tones and the other half 75 dB tones. All indices pointed to slowed habituation in patients compared with normals: number of trials to response habituation, total number of responses, and slope of decline of skin conductance level. Patient-normal differences were not significantly larger for 100 dB than for 75 dB. In addition, patients compared with normals had more nonspecific fluctuations, higher skin conductance levels, and a shorter response latency to the first stimulus. Stepwise discriminant analyses classified patients and normals better in the 100 dB than in the 75 dB condition, and showed that the various skin conductancy variables were largely redundant at the higher intensity.


Journal article


Biol Psychiatry

Publication Date





1231 - 1243


Acoustic Stimulation, Adult, Agoraphobia, Arousal, Fear, Female, Galvanic Skin Response, Habituation, Psychophysiologic, Humans, Male, Panic, Psychiatric Status Rating Scales, Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic