Dr. Barbara Händel
Traditionally, the cerebellum has been viewed as a part of the brain exclusively supporting motor functions, with a specific role in the acquisition of motor memory. This view has recently been challenged by anatomical, clinical, and imaging studies suggesting a role of the cerebellum not only in motor but also cognitive domains. Corroborating earlier results, we could e.g. show that patients experience a significant impairment in global motion discrimination despite normal fixation behavior. This deficit is paralleled by qualitative differences in responses recorded from parieto-temporal cortex, including a reduced responsiveness to coherent visual motion and a striking loss of bilateral representations of motion coherence. Moreover, the perceptual thresholds correlated with the cortical representation of motion strength on single subject basis. These results demonstrate that visual motion processing in cerebral cortex critically depends on an intact cerebellum and establish a correlation between cortical activity and impaired visual perception resulting from cerebellar damage.
I’m interested to understand what and how cortical activity is affected by cerebellar input and its perceptual consequences.
Haendel, B., Thier, P., & Haarmeier, T. (2009). Visual Motion Perception Deficits Due to Cerebellar Lesions Are Paralleled by Specific Changes in Cerebro-Cortical Activity. The Journal of Neuroscience, 29 (48): 15126 –33.
Haendel, B., Thier, P. & Haarmeier, T.(2008). Cerebellar lesions induce changes in visual motion adaptation as measured by the visual motion aftereffect. Soc Neurosci Abstr 460.14.