The electrodermal activity (EDA) signal is an electrical manifestation of the sympathetic innervation of the sweat glands. EDA has a history in psychophysiological (including emotional or cognitive stress) research since 1879, but it was not until recent years that researchers began using EDA for pathophysiological applications like the assessment of fatigue, pain, sleepiness, exercise recovery, diagnosis of epilepsy, neuropathies, depression, and so forth. The advent of new devices and applications for EDA has increased the development of novel signal processing techniques, creating a growing pool of measures derived mathematically from the EDA. For many years, simply computing the mean of EDA values over a period was used to assess arousal. Much later, researchers found that EDA contains information not only in the slow changes (tonic component) that the mean value represents, but also in the rapid or phasic changes of the signal. The techniques that have ensued have intended to provide a more sophisticated analysis of EDA, beyond the traditional tonic/phasic decomposition of the signal. With many researchers from the social sciences, engineering, medicine, and other areas recently working with EDA, it is timely to summarize and review the recent developments and provide an updated and synthesized framework for all researchers interested in incorporating EDA into their research.
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