Narender Ramnani, Professor of Neuroscience, Department of Psychology, Royal Holloway University of London
The cerebellum is well-known for its contribution to the control of skilled movement. The mechanisms include connectivity with the motor system and the ability of it’s remarkable circuitry to store motor memories, including those relating to simple conditioned motor responses acquired through Pavlovian conditioning. However, some cerebellar circuitry communicates with the prefrontal cortex – including areas of that have important roles in cognitive function but little to do with motor control. In this lecture I draw from theoretical neurobiology, anatomy, brain evolution and neuroimaging to address the ways in which cerebellar circuits might contribute to the skilled execution of cognitive operations, such as the instrumental learning of contingencies that link decisions with their antecedents and consequences.