Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology

Living Edition
| Editors: Jeffrey Kreutzer, John DeLuca, Bruce Caplan

Soft Signs

  • Jennifer Cass
  • Keith Owen Yeates
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-56782-2_1595-2



Soft signs refer to subtle abnormalities in sensory-perceptual, motor, or other central nervous system functions. They are findings that are pathological at any age but more subtle manifestations of hard signs or behaviors that are abnormal because they persist beyond a normal age. In contrast to hard neurological signs, they are nonspecific indicators of impairment and are not associated with focal brain dysfunction or any specific disease process. They may not cause functional impairment. Examples of neurological soft signs (NSS) include clumsiness, motor incoordination, motor overflow, difficulty with motor sequencing or rapid successive movements, stereognosis or graphesthesia, right-left confusion, and extinction in response to double simultaneous stimulation.

Historical Background

The concept of soft signs originated in the early twentieth century. Samuel Orton was the...

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References and Reading

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PediatricsNationwide Children’s Hospital and The Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of CalgaryCalgaryCanada