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Babinski Sign

  1. Francis A. Neelon

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0106

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

Neelon, F. A. 2010. Babinski Sign. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1–2.

Author Information

  1. Rice Diet Program, Durham, North Carolina

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


In 1896, Joseph Jules François Félix Babinski (1857–1932) reported a clinical sign that now famously bears his name (Babinski, 1896). In point of fact, Babinski described several signs of importance in neurology, but the one under consideration here (and the one usually referred to as the Babinski sign) denotes the extension, rather than the expected flexion, of the great toe upon mildly noxious stimulation of the soles of the feet in patients who have lesions of the pyramidal tracts. Others had seen this reflex response, but Babinski was the first to call attention to its diagnostic importance (for example, in differentiating structural from hysterical paralysis) (Babinski, 1898). He later pointed out that fanning of the lateral toes may accompany extension of the great toe (Babinski, 1903), but this is not an essential component of the sign.


  • Babinski;
  • pyramidal tracts;
  • paralysis