Sparse Multichannel Decomposition of Electrodermal Activity With Physiological Priors

Samiul Alam, Md Rafiul Amin, Rose T. Faghih

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Goal: Inferring autonomous nervous system (ANS) activity is a challenging issue and has critical applications in stress regulation. Sweat secretions caused by ANS activity influence the electrical conductance of the skin. Therefore, the variations in skin conductance (SC) measurements reflect the sudomotor nerve activity (SMNA) and can be used to infer the underlying ANS activity. These variations are strongly correlated with emotional arousal as well as thermoregulation. However, accurately recovering ANS activity and the corresponding state-space system from a single channel signal is difficult due to artifacts introduced by measurement noise. To minimize the impact of noise on inferring ANS activity, we utilize multiple channels of SC data. Methods: We model skin conductance using a second-order differential equation incorporating a time-shifted sparse impulse train input in combination with independent cubic basis spline functions. Finally, we develop a block coordinate descent method for SC signal decomposition by employing a generalized cross-validation sparse recovery approach while including physiological priors. Results: We analyze the experimental data to validate the performance of the proposed algorithm. We demonstrate its capacity to recover the ANS activations, the underlying physiological system parameters, and both tonic and phasic components. Finally, we present an overview of the algorithm's comparative performance under varying conditions and configurations to substantiate its ability to accurately model ANS activity. Our results show that our algorithm performs better in terms of multiple metrics like noise performance, AUC score, the goodness of fit of reconstructed signal, and lower missing impulses compared with the single channel decomposition approach. Conclusion: In this study, we highlight the challenges and benefits of concurrent decomposition and deconvolution of multichannel SC signals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)234-250
Number of pages17
JournalIEEE Open Journal of Engineering in Medicine and Biology
StatePublished - 2023


  • Biomedical Signal Processing
  • multichannel Deconvolution
  • optimization
  • sparse Recovery
  • system Identification

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering


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