Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology

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

Alien Hand Syndrome

  • Gary GoldbergEmail author
  • Matthew E. Goodwin
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-57111-9_1877


Alien limb phenomenon; Anarchic hand; Callosal apraxia; Diagnostic dyspraxia; Dr. Strangelove syndrome; Intermanual conflict; Magnetic apraxia; Wayward hand

Short Description or Definition

Alien hand syndrome (AHS) is a relatively rare manifestation of damage to specific brain regions involved in purposive voluntary movement. It is postulated to be an impairment of the “sense of agency” or, alternatively, an impairment of intentionality. The core observation is the patient report that one of his/her hands is displaying purposeful, coordinated, and goal-directed behavior over which the patient feels he/she has no direct voluntary control. The patient fails to recognize the action of one of their hands as their own. The hand, effectively, appears to manifest a “will of its own.” This unique involuntary movement disorder is characterized by coordinated, well-organized, and clearly goal-directed limb movements that would otherwise be indistinguishable from normal voluntary...

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG (outside the USA) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Hunter Holmes McGuire Veterans Administration Medical Center, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine/Medical College of VirginiaRichmondUSA
  2. 2.Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare SystemLittle RockUSA