Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology

2018 Edition
| Editors: Jeffrey S. Kreutzer, John DeLuca, Bruce Caplan

Decerebrate Posturing

  • Jacob KeanEmail author
  • Travis Williams
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-57111-9_231


Extensor posturing


Decerebrate posturing is a pattern of movement commonly produced by extensive forebrain lesions including the subcortex. It is characterized by rigidity, extension of the arms with wrists pronated, extension of the legs, downward pointing of the toes, and sometimes arching of the spine. Decerebrate posturing may be partial or asymmetric. Decerebrate (or extensor) posturing is distinguished from decorticate (or flexor) posturing by the extension of the arms. Decerebrate posturing is generally the result of massive and bilateral forebrain lesions or other damage that includes upper brainstem and sometimes the rostral pons. Common causes include cerebral infarction (stroke), intracranial hemorrhage, primary brain tumor, secondary brain tumor, traumatic head injury, increased intracranial pressure from any cause, brainstem tumor, and metabolic or hepatic encephalopathies.


References and Readings

  1. Posner, J. B., Saper, C. B., Schiff, N. D., & Plum, F. (2007). Plum and Posner’s diagnosis of stupor and coma. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Physical Medicine and RehabilitationIndiana University School of MedicineIndianapolisUSA
  2. 2.Department of Physical Medicine and RehabilitationIndiana UniversityIndianapolisUSA