Functional connectivity between the cerebrum and cerebellum in social cognition: A multi-study analysis

Neuroimage. 2016 Jan 1;124(Pt A):248-255. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2015.09.001. Epub 2015 Sep 5.


This multi-study connectivity analysis explores the functional connectivity of the cerebellum with the cerebrum in social mentalizing, that is, understanding the mind of another person. The analysis covers 5 studies (n=92) involving abstract and complex forms of social mentalizing such as (a) person and group impression formation based on behavioral descriptions and (b) constructing personal counterfactual events (i.e., how the past could have turned out better). The results suggest that cerebellar activity during these social processes reflects a domain-specific mentalizing functionality that is strongly connected with a corresponding mentalizing network in the cerebrum. A significant pattern of connectivity was found linking the dorsal medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) and the right temporo-parietal junction (TPJ) with the right posterior cerebellum, and linking the latter with the left TPJ. In addition, in the cerebrum, further connectivity was found through links of the bilateral TPJ with the dorsal mPFC, orbitofrontal cortex and between right and left TPJ. The discussion centers on the role of these cerebro-cerebellar connections in matching external information from the cerebrum with internal predictions generated by the cerebellum. These internal predictions might involve the sequencing of the person's behaviors.

Keywords: Cerebellum; Functional connectivity; Functional neuroimaging; Mentalizing; Social cognition.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Brain Mapping
  • Cerebellum / physiology*
  • Cerebrum / physiology*
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Imagination / physiology*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Neural Pathways / physiology
  • Parietal Lobe / physiology
  • Prefrontal Cortex / physiology
  • Social Behavior
  • Social Perception*
  • Temporal Lobe / physiology
  • Thinking / physiology
  • Young Adult