The cerebellum (Latin for “little brain”) is one of the most identifiable parts of the brain due to its unique shape and location. It plays an important role in motor control. It is also essential to being able to stay balanced and upright.
It may also be involved in some cognitive functions such as attention and language, and in regulating fear and pleasure responses, but its movement-related functions are the most solidly established. Patients who have suffered from damaged cerebellums often struggle with keeping their balance and maintaining proper muscle coordination.
In addition to its direct role in motor control, the cerebellum is necessary for several types of motor learning, most notably learning to adjust to changes in sensorimotor relationships. Several theoretical models have been developed to explain sensorimotor calibration in terms of synaptic plasticity within the cerebellum.
The cerebellum receives information from the sensory systems, the spinal cord, and other parts of the brain and then regulates motor movements. It coordinates voluntary movements such as posture, balance, coordination, and speech, resulting in smooth and balanced muscular activity. It is also important for learning motor behaviors.
It is a relatively small portion of the brain – about ten percent of the total weight, but it contains roughly half of the brain’s neurons, specialized cells that transmit information via electrical signals.
FUNCTIONS OF CEREBELLUM
The cerebellum is involved in several functions. It processes information from the brain and peripheral nervous system for balance and body control. Activities such as walking, hitting a ball, and playing a video game all involve the cerebellum. It helps us to have fine motor control, while inhibiting involuntary movement.
- Fine Movement Coordination
- Balance and Equilibrium
- Muscle Tone
- Sense of Body Position