Cerebellum: Movement Regulation and Cognitive Functions


The cerebellum is located in the back of the brain, just above the brainstem. Its important function is to regulate neural signals in other parts of the brain. Most is known about its regulatory actions on neurons that control movement and posture.

Keywords: brain; nervous system; signals; learning

Figure 1.

Signal flow through the cerebellum and its relationship to sensory–motor integration in the premotor network. The red arrows indicate an exclusively inhibitory projection onto a small cluster of neurons in the cerebellar deep nucleus. PC, Purkinje cell.

Figure 2.

Regulation of movement direction by coordinating a small array of four cortical–cerebellar modules.


Further Reading

Barto AG, Fagg AH, Sitkoff N and Houk JC (1999) A cerebellar model of timing and prediction in the control of reaching. Neural Computation 11: 565–594.

Courchesne E and Allen G (1997) Prediction and preparation, fundamental functions of the cerebellum. Learning and Memory 4: 1–35.

Holdefer RN, Miller LE, Chen LL and Houk JC (2000) Functional connectivity between cerebellum and primary motor cortex in the awake monkey. Journal of Neurophysiology 84: 585–590.

Houk JC (2001) Neurophysiology of frontal–subcortical loops. In: Lichter DG and Cummings JL (eds) Frontal–Subcortical Circuits in Psychiatry and Neurology, chap. 4, pp. 92–113. New York: Guilford Publications.

Houk JC, Keifer J and Barto AG (1993) Distributed motor commands in the limb premotor network. Trends in Neuroscience 16: 27–33.

Kim S‐G, Ugurbil K and Strick PL (1994) Activation of a cerebellar output nucleus during cognitive processing. Science 265: 949–951.

Mason CR, Miller LE, Baker JF and Houk JC (1998) Organization of reaching and grasping movements in the primate cerebellar nuclei as revealed by focal muscimol inactivations. Journal of Neurophysiology 79: 537–554.

Middleton FA and Strick PL (1997) Cerebellar output channels: substrates for the control of motor and cognitive function. International Review of Neurobiology 41: 61–82.

Raymond JL, Lisberger SG and Mauk MD (1996) The cerebellum: a neuronal learning machine? Science 272: 1126–1131.

Stein JF and Glickstein M (1992) Role of the cerebellum in visual guidance of movement. Physiological Reviews 72: 967–1017.

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How to Cite close
Houk, James C, and Miller, Lee E(Jul 2003) Cerebellum: Movement Regulation and Cognitive Functions. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. http://www.els.net [doi: 10.1038/npg.els.0000036]