Distinct Cerebellar Contributions to Cognitive-Perceptual Dynamics During Natural Viewing

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Abstract

The crucial role of the cerebellum in motor learning and coordination is very well known. Considerable interest has recently shifted toward its contribution to nonmotor tasks, such as working memory, emotion, and language. However, the cognitive role and functional subdivisions of the cerebellum, particularly in dynamic, ecologically realistic contexts, are not yet established. By analyzing functional neuroimaging data acquired while participants viewed a short dramatic movie, we found that posterior and inferior cerebellar regions are reliably engaged in dynamic perceptual and affective processes with no explicit motor component. These cerebellar regions show significant relevance to visual salience and unexpected turning points of the movie. Our results demonstrate that distinct functional subdivisions of the cerebellum are robustly engaged in real-life cognitive processes, playing specific roles through a dynamic interaction with higher order regions in the cerebral cortex.

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