Estimating Appropriate Lag Length for Synchronized Physiological Time Series: The Electrodermal Response

Document Type




Format of Original

29 p.

Publication Date



Society for Chaos Theory in Psychology & Life Sciences

Source Publication

Nonlinear Dynamics, Psychology, and Life Sciences

Source ISSN


Original Item ID

PubMed Central: PMID: DS26058337


Physiological synchronization of autonomic arousal between people is thought to be an important component of work team dynamics, therapist-client relationships, and other interpersonal dynamics. This article examines concepts and mathematical models of synchronization that could be relevant to work teams. Before it is possible to deploy nonlinear modeling, however, it is necessary to develop a strategy for determining appropriate lag lengths. If a measurement at time 2 is a function of itself at time 1 and a coupling effect from another source, what is the appropriate amount of real time that should be allowed to elapse between the two measurements in order to observe the coupling effect? This study examined four strategies for doing so. In the experiment, 78 undergraduates worked in pairs to perform a vigilance dual task for 90 min while galvanic skin responses (GSR) were recorded. Lags based on mutual entropy and the natural rate criteria produced corroborating results, whereas strategies based on a critical decline in the linear autocorrelation (max r/e) and Theiler's W did not produce usable results for this situation. Some connections were uncovered between linear autocorrelation strength and lag based on mutual entropy with performance on the tasks and subjective ratings of workload.


Nonlinear Dynamics, Psychology, and Life Sciences, Vol. 19, No. 3 (July 2015): 285.312. Publisher Link.