Electroencephalographic measures (EEG) and skin conductance level (SCL) respectively reflect cerebral cortical activity and sympathetic autonomic activity. Such central and autonomic activities associated with arousal generally have been studied separately, despite their potential to reflect complementary dimensions of reticular-thalamo-hypothalamo-cortical activating networks. In this study, we examined the relationship between cortical (19 EEG sites) and autonomic (SCL) activities recorded simultaneously in 10 normal adults. Two second pre-stimulus EEGs and SCLs were assessed from an habituation paradigm which presented 22 trains of 7 tones in an 'ignore' condition. The mean SCLs of the epochs across subjects showed an initial rise (sensitization) followed by an exponential decline (habituation). Although EEG associated with the tones did not demonstrate such a distinct profile, EEG total power and band powers (beta, alpha and theta) associated with the trains showed a systematic increasing response profile. In the group data the mean SCLs within trains showed a significant correlation with alpha and beta band powers. Finer EEG band analyses indicated that β3 at Fz and α2 at Cz showed the strongest separate linear correlations with SCL. β3 and α1 at Fz were found to jointly covary with SCL. The findings indicate a substantive relationship between measures of cerebral function and autonomic arousal.