The role of the cerebellum in schizophrenia: an update of clinical, cognitive, and functional evidences

Schizophr Bull. 2008 Jan;34(1):155-72. doi: 10.1093/schbul/sbm049. Epub 2007 Jun 11.


The role of the cerebellum in schizophrenia has been highlighted by Andreasen's hypothesis of "cognitive dysmetria," which suggests a general dyscoordination of sensorimotor and mental processes. Studies in schizophrenic patients have brought observations supporting a cerebellar impairment: high prevalence of neurological soft signs, dyscoordination, abnormal posture and propioception, impaired eyeblink conditioning, impaired adaptation of the vestibular-ocular reflex or procedural learning tests, and lastly functional neuroimaging studies correlating poor cognitive performances with abnormal cerebellar activations. Despite those compelling evidences, there has been, to our knowledge, no recent review on the clinical, cognitive, and functional literature supporting the role of the cerebellum in schizophrenia. We conducted a Medline research focusing on cerebellar dysfunctions in schizophrenia. Emphasis was given to recent literature (after 1998). The picture arising from this review is heterogeneous. While in some domains, the role of the cerebellum seems clearly defined (ie, neurological soft signs, posture, or equilibrium), in other domains, the cerebellar contribution to schizophrenia seems limited or indirect (ie, cognition) if present at all (ie, affectivity). Functional models of the cerebellum are proposed as a background for interpreting these results.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Affect
  • Cerebellum / physiopathology*
  • Cognition Disorders / diagnosis
  • Cognition Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Cognition Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Hallucinations / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Language
  • Learning
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Memory Disorders / diagnosis
  • Memory Disorders / epidemiology
  • Posture
  • Proprioception / physiology
  • Reflex, Abnormal
  • Reflex, Vestibulo-Ocular / physiology
  • Schizophrenia / epidemiology*
  • Schizophrenia / physiopathology*