Complex spikes generated in a cerebellar Purkinje cell via a climbing fiber have been assumed to encode errors in the performance of neuronal circuits involving Purkinje cells. To reexamine this notion in this review, I analyzed structures of motor control systems involving the cerebellum. A dichotomy was found between the two types of error: sensory and motor errors play roles in the feedforward and feedback control conditions, respectively. To substantiate this dichotomy, here in this article I reviewed recent data on neuronal connections and signal contents of climbing fibers in the vestibuloocular reflex (VOR), optokinetic eye movement response, saccade, hand reaching, cursor tracking, as well as some other cases of motor control. In our studies, various sources of sensory and motor errors were located in the neuronal pathways leading to the inferior olive. We noted that during the course of evolution, control system structures involving the cerebellum changed rather radically from the prototype seen in the flocculonodular lobe and vermis to that applicable to the cerebellar hemisphere. Nevertheless, the dichotomy between sensory and motor errors is maintained.
Keywords: adaptation; error; internal model; microcomplex; motor learning.