The skin conductance responses of schizophrenics, neurotics, and normals to orienting stimuli were examined. Only the schizophrenic group showed a high incidence of absence of skin conductance orienting responses. A subdivision of the schizophrenic sample into those who did not show any orienting response and those who responded more than three times revealed significant differences in a dichotic listening shadowing task and symptomatology. The schizophrenic nonresponders as compared to the responders made more errors of omission in the dichotic listening task and showed a symptom pattern of low spontaneous activity and withdrawal. The lack of skin conductance responses in some schizophrenics was interpreted as a protective mechanism.