Psychophysiology and Cognitive Functioning in Elderly: The Skin Conductance as a Reliable Marker of Memorization and Rememorization Capability


  • Carlo Pruneti University of Parma
  • Chiara Cosentino University of Parma
  • Sara Guidotti University of Parma



AutAutonomic Nervous System, Skin Conductance, Cognition, Arousal, Older people


Objectives. The aim of the study is to assess the role of physiological activation in favoring the benefits of a series of sessions of reminiscence therapy (RT). Methods. Seven healthy elders (age: 87.7 ± 4.6) were recruited. A Psychophysiological Stress Profile (in three phases: baseline, stress, recovery) has been recorded in order to register the skin conductance (level and response, SCL-SCR). During the stress condition the Mini-Mental State Examination and Semantic Fluency Test were administered. The cognitive functioning was reassessed after seven sessions of RT. Results. On the basis of the SCR value (during stress condition), two groups have been made: high responders (HRs) and low responders (LRs). At baseline, HRs significantly differ in SCR (stress phase) and MMSE total score. After the RT, the same group reported higher scores in memory recall and lexical access. Discussion. A relation between physiological arousal and cognitive performance has been confirmed.


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