Language and the cerebellum

Peter Mariën, Renato Borgatti

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in rivistaArticolo in rivista

25 Citazioni (Scopus)


During the past decades neuroanatomic, neuroimaging, and clinical studies have substantially changed the long-standing view of the role of the cerebellum as a sole coordinator of sensorimotor function. Currently, the cerebellum is considered to be crucially implicated in a variety of cognitive, affective, social, and behavioral processes as well. In this chapter we aim to summarize a number of critical insights from different research areas (neuroanatomy, functional neuroimaging, clinical practice) that provide evidence for a role of the cerebellum in motor speech and nonmotor language processing in both adults and children. Neuroanatomic studies have provided a robust basis for the development of new insights in the modulatory role of the cerebellum in neurocognition, including nonmotor language processing by means of identifying a dense network of crossed reciprocal connections between the cerebellum and the supratentorial association areas. A topologic distinction has been established between the "motor" cerebellum, projecting to the cortical motor areas, and the "cognitive/affective" cerebellum, connected with the cortical and limbic association areas. Neuroimaging studies have demonstrated cerebellar involvement in several different language tasks, even after controlling for motor aspects. In addition, several clinical studies have identified a variety of nonmotor linguistic deficits after cerebellar disease in both children and adults, implying a prominent role for the cerebellum in linguistic processes. Functional neuroimaging has confirmed the functional impact of cerebellar lesions on remote, structurally intact cortical regions via crossed cerebellocerebral diaschisis. Overall, evidence from neuroanatomic, neuroimaging, and clinical studies shows a (strongly lateralized) involvement of the cerebellum in a broad spectrum of nonmotor language functions through a dense network of crossed and reciprocal cerebellocerebral connections. It is argued that the cerebellum is involved in language in a similar manner as it is involved in motor functions: through monitoring/coordinating cortical functions via timing and sequencing mechanisms.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)181-202
Numero di pagine22
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2018
Pubblicato esternamente


  • Cerebellum


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