Unsupervised Thinking
a podcast about neuroscience, artificial intelligence and science more broadly

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Episode 39: What Does the Cerebellum Do?

Cerebellum literally means "little brain," and in a way, it has been treated as a second-class citizen in neuroscience for awhile. In this episode we describe the traditional view of the cerebellum as a circuit for motor control and associative learning and how its more cognitive roles have been overlooked. First we talk about the beautiful architecture of the cerebellum and the functions of its different cell types, including the benefits of diversity. We then discuss the evidence for non-motor functions of the cerebellum and why this evidence was hard to find until recently. During this, we struggle to explain what cognitive issues someone with a cerebellar lesion may have and special guest/cerebellum expert Alex Cayco-Gajic tests our cerebellar function. Finally, we end by lamenting the fact that good science is impossible and Alex tells us how the future of neuroscience is subcortical!

We read:
What the Cerebellum Computes
The Cerebellum and Cognitive Function: 25 Years of Insight from Anatomy and Neuroimaging

And mentioned:
Our Reinforcement Learning episode
eLife paper on learning a series of blinks
Sam Wang's review of autism and cerebellar damage
Paper on bird cerebellar pathways
fMRI (check out our episode on it)
Optogenetics (check out our episode on it)

And keep an eye out for Alex's upcoming review on pattern separation!
UPDATE: Here it is!

To listen to (or download) this episode, (right) click here

As always, our jazzy theme music "Quirky Dog" is courtesy of Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) 

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