4 Ways to Measure Galvanic Skin Response (GSR)

microsoft band with gsr sensor

Galvanic skin response, or GSR, is a form of biofeedback that measures changes in the electrical resistance of the skin. The process of measuring GSR involves introducing external items such as images, sounds, questions, foods, or products and then observing how skin resistance changes in comparison to a baseline reading.


GSR measurement has a variety of applications and has been used effectively in the law enforcement and health and wellness fields for more than 100 years. As the technology has evolved, we are seeing it applied in more innovative and useful ways.


Currently, there are 4 basic ways to measure galvanic skin response, and each method has its own unique uses and benefits.


Finger electrodes

The original and still widely used method of measuring GSR is by using finger electrodes attached to a device that sends a weak electrical current across the skin. Along with other biofeedback devices, this type of galvanic skin response device is used in the polygraph machine.


In this test, a polygrapher asks the subject questions with unknown answers and then compares them with baseline questions that are obviously true in order to determine if the subject is telling the truth about something.


GSR devices that utilize finger electrodes are also widely used in the psychology field. Not only are they used to study behavior, but they can also provide valuable information to the person being tested. After all, the more aware you are of how your body reacts to certain things, the better you are able to choose positive behaviors and avoid negative ones.


Wearable GSR sensors

GSR has also made its way into the growing industry of wearable technology. Sensors have been integrated into a number of smart watches and fitness bands, providing users with yet another way to measure their activity and provide feedback.1


One obvious benefit of wearable GSR technology is that it allows you to get feedback from your body all day long, as opposed to only when you are getting a GSR test. Another benefit is that it is often combined with other sensors that monitor things like heart rate, sleep, and respiration rate.


Electrodermal screening devices

dr. voll dermatron gsr device


A third way to measure galvanic skin response is with an electrodermal screening, or EDS, device. Primitive EDS devices involved the practitioner administering a weak electric current to the skin through a stylus on electro-acupuncture points and recording the readings. This process was both invasive and time-consuming.


Fortunately, however, EDS technology has advanced and become computerized. Now, digital representations of not only electro-acupuncture points, but a wide variety of digital signatures of actual items can be measured. Today’s electrodermal screening devices are generally equipped with contact rods that the person holds on to with their hands to get a measurement.


With modern electrodermal screening sytems, items can be introduced to the body and GSR readings can be taken much quicker. This includes both signatures of parts and systems in the body as well as signatures of external items such as supplements.


ZYTO Hand Cradle

At ZYTO, we’ve pioneered an advanced form of electrodermal screening that combines our Hand Cradle galvanic skin response device with cutting-edge software. With thousands of Virtual Items in our software libraries, a variety of useful information can be gathered and used to make the best decisions for personal health and wellness.


Unlike other GSR devices, the Hand Cradle has more contact points with a larger surface area on each contact point. Measuring an area that nearly covers the entire surface of the hand allows for the most accurate measurement possible.




Dr. Vaughn Cook ZYTOAbout Dr. Vaughn Cook
Dr. Vaughn R Cook is the Founder & CEO of ZYTO. An Oriental Medical Doctor (OMD) and licensed acupuncturist, he has worked in the complementary and alternative medical field for more than 30 years, specializing in applications that integrate Western and Eastern medicine.





1. Sawh, Michael. “Sensors explored: Galvanic skin response.” Wareable. Wareable.com.


The information provided in this article is intended to improve, not replace, the direct relationship between the client (or site visitor) and healthcare professionals.

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