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List of reflexes

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A list of reflexes in humans.

  • Accommodation reflex — coordinated changes in vergence, lens shape and pupil size when looking at a distant object after a near object.
  • Acoustic reflex or stapedius reflex or attenuation reflex — contraction of the stapedius and tensor tympani muscles in the middle ear in response to high sound intensities.
  • Ankle jerk reflex — jerking of the ankle when the Achilles tendon is hit with a tendon hammer while the foot is relaxed, stimulating the S1 reflex arc.
  • Asymmetric tonic neck reflex (ATNR) or tonic neck reflex — in infants up to four months of age, when the head is turned to the side, the arm on that side will straighten and the contralateral arm will bend.
  • Babinski reflex — in infants up to one year of age, and also in older individuals with neurological damage, a spreading of the toes and extension of the big toe in response to stroking the side of the foot.
  • Baroreflex or baroreceptor reflex — homeostatic countereffect to a sudden elevation or reduction in blood pressure detected by the baroreceptors in the aortic arch, carotid sinuses, etc.
  • Biceps reflex — a jerking of the forearm when the biceps brachii tendon is struck with a tendon hammer, stimulating the C5 and C6 reflex arcs.
  • Blushing — a reddening of the face caused by embarrassment, shame, or modesty.
  • Brachioradialis reflex — a jerking of the forearm when the brachioradialis tendon is hit with a tendon hammer while the arm is resting, stimulating the C5 and C6 reflex arcs.
  • Corneal reflex — blinking of both eyes when the cornea of either eye is touched.
  • Cough reflex — a rapid expulsion of air from the lungs after sudden opening of the glottis, and usually following irritation of the trachea.
  • Cremasteric reflex — elevation of the scrotum and testis elicited by stroking of the superior and medial part of the thigh.
  • Galant reflex — in infants up to four months of age, a rotation of the upper body towards one or other side of the back when that side is stroked.
  • Knee jerk or patellar reflex — a kick caused by striking the patellar tendon with a tendon hammer just below the patella, stimulating the L4 and L3 reflex arcs.
  • Moro reflex — only in all infants/newborns up to 4 or 5 months of age: a sudden symmetric spreading of the arms, then unspreading and crying, caused by an unexpected loud noise or the sensation of being dropped. It is the only unlearned fear in humans.
  • Palmar grasp reflex — in infants up to six months of age, a closing of the hand in response to an object being placed in it.
  • Plantar reflex — in infants up to 1 year of age, a curling of the toes when something rubs the ball of the foot.
  • Rooting reflex — turning of an infant's head toward anything that strokes the cheek or mouth.
  • Shivering — shaking of the body in response to early hypothermia in warm-blooded animals.
  • Sneeze or sternutation — a convulsive expulsion of air from the lungs normally triggered by irritation of the nasal mucosa in the nose.
  • Sternutation — see Sneeze above.
  • Suckling reflex — sucking at anything that touches the roof of an infant's mouth.
  • Triceps reflex — jerking of the forearm when the triceps tendon is hit with a tendon hammer, stimulating the C7 and C6 reflex arcs.
  • Vagovagal reflex — contraction of muscles in the gastrointestinal tract in response to distension of the tract following consumption of food and drink.
  • Vestibulo-ocular reflex — movement of the eyes to the right when the head is rotated to the left, and vice versa.


  • Adelman G and Smith B H (Eds) (2004). Encyclopedia of Neuroscience, 3rd Edition, Elsevier Press : Oxford, UK.

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