Columbia University in the City of New York

What is the Cerebellum?

Recent research is revealing new, complex roles for this ancient and universal brain structure

Tucked away in the back of your brain is one of the densest structures in the brain. It's called the cerebellum, and it is an ancient and universal structure. Scientists know that it helps to coordinate our movements, because damage to the cerebellum can make it difficult to button your shirt, or walk in a straight line. But recent research is starting to reveal other roles for the cerebellum beyond movement. It seems to be involved in advanced cognitive functions, like learning how to make a decision.

In a recent study published in Neuron and led by the Zuckerman Institute's Mickey Goldberg, MD, Anna Ipata, MD, PhD, and Naveen Sendhilnathan, we see the first direct evidence that the cerebellum is involved in this kind of complex learning.

Learn more about all the things the cerebellum can do, and what this research reveals about disorders linked to abnormalities in the cerebellum, such as autism.

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