The Dichotomization Theory For Differential Autonomic Responsivity Reconsidered

Gershon Ben‐Shakhar, Israel Lieblich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The effect of the serial position of a relevant (chosen) stimulus on the differential skin conductance response evoked by it was investigated. One hundred and three subjects were tested in four experimental conditions in which they were presented with a verbal sequence of 8 numbers, one of which they had previously chosen. It was found that differential responsivity decreased as a function of the serial position of the chosen number. This finding contrasts with a strict version of the dichotomization theory. A modified version of this theory was suggested to account for the present finding, as well as for previously reported results. It focuses on the different attributes of the stimuli. It states that habituation to a stimulus is dependent on the frequency with which attributes of the stimulus were presented either as components of the stimulus or as components of other stimuli.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)277-281
Number of pages5
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1982
Externally publishedYes


  • Dichotomization theory
  • Differential autonomic responsivity
  • Habituation
  • Skin conductance


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