[The role of the cerebellum in the regulation of affection, emotion and behaviour]

Rev Neurol. 2010 Nov 16;51(10):597-609.
[Article in Spanish]


Introduction: In recent decades there has been a significant increase in the number of articles that have drawn attention to the possible importance of the role of the cerebellum in non-motor functions. Schmahmann and Sherman, for example, have described the cognitive, behavioural and emotional pattern of what has been called cerebellar cognitive affective syndrome. A central aspect of this disorder is the dysregulation of affect that occurs when lesions involve what has been called the limbic cerebellum (mainly the vermis).

Development: A non-systematic review of the most important literature on the role of the cerebellum in emotional and behavioural regulation was carried out. Two lines of analysis were followed. The first of them was the study of the psycho-pathological symptoms or neuropsychiatric disorders presented by patients suffering from different cerebellar pathologies ranging from congenital pathologies such as agenesis of the cerebellum, dysplasia or hypoplasia to other acquired diseases like tumours in the posterior fossa, cerebellitis or superficial siderosis. In such cases it has been seen that when the cerebellar vermis is compromised, patients display disorders affecting their behaviour and emotions, and psychiatric pathologies are more frequent. In the second line, we analysed the role played by the cerebellum in different psycho-pathological disorders in which the structure of the cerebellum was found to be altered. Although not universal, these alterations were consistent, since they involve the cerebellar vermis.

Conclusions: Although the body of evidence continues to grow, a critical review of the scientific literature leads us to reflect on evolution in the study of the cerebral substrate underlying the cognitive functions and the evolution undergone by this study.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Behavior / physiology*
  • Cerebellum / anatomy & histology
  • Cerebellum / physiology*
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Cognition Disorders / physiopathology
  • Emotions / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / physiopathology