Large-scale brain systems and subcortical relationships: the vertically organized brain

Appl Neuropsychol Child. 2014;3(4):253-63. doi: 10.1080/21622965.2014.946804.


This article reviews the vertical organization of the brain. The cortico-basal ganglia and the cerebro-cerebellar circuitry systems are described as fundamental to cognitive and behavioral control. The basal ganglia anticipate and guide implicitly learned behaviors on the basis of experienced reward outcomes. The cerebellar-cortical network anticipates sensorimotor outcomes, allowing behaviors to be adapted across changing settings and across contexts. These vertically organized systems, operating together, represent the underpinning of cognitive control. The medial temporal lobe system, and its development, is also reviewed in order to better understand how brain systems interact for both implicit and explicit cognitive control.

Keywords: basal ganglia; cerebellar-cortical network; medial temporal lobe system; vertically organized brain systems.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Basal Ganglia / physiology
  • Behavior / physiology*
  • Brain / anatomy & histology
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Cerebellum / physiology
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Models, Neurological
  • Neural Pathways / physiology*