The psychological cerebellum

It’s only been since just about 1998 that the cerebellum has been considered as more than just a brain part responsible for motor competencies. It was researcher Schmahmann that published three back-to-back game-changing papers in 1990, 1997 and 1998. All three investigated the role of the cerebellum in cognition, to some extent.

To be fair, the cerebellum is actually today being considered in cognitive, social and linguistic non-motor functions.

Gao et al. have shown that specific regions of the cerebellum are active in short-term memory, even when the body is not in motion. It was already known that, in humans, cerebellar damage was known to cause memory and planning problems. This could be because the link between the cortex and the cerebellum is affected.

Recent studies in the Dosenbach Lab showed that the lateral posterior regions of the cerebellum form closed-looped circuits with regions of the premotor, prefrontal, and posterior parietal cortex in macaques. This provides an anatomical framework for a putative role in adaptive feedback mechanisms for behavioral modification of movement and cognitive processes.

Marek’s research launched a bomb most recently. He stated that only 20% of the cerebellum is solely devoted to motor functions.

One surprising fact about the cerebellum is that it could be involved in sensitivity to alcohol. Researchers have speculated that the poor judgment and lack of impulse control that occurs after someone drinks too much alcohol may be rooted in the cerebellum. Poor decision-making could be fueled by alcohol consumption may just be a reflection of the cerebellum losing its ability to monitor and control the quality of executive functions.

Could it be then, that by balancing the muscular system and providing the organism with increased stability, we could be promoting optimal behavior, physical and more?

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