Cerebellar Activation During Simple and Complex Bimanual Coordination: an Activation Likelihood Estimation (ALE) Meta-analysis

Cerebellum. 2022 Dec;21(6):987-1013. doi: 10.1007/s12311-021-01261-8. Epub 2021 Sep 30.


Bimanual coordination is an important part of everyday life and recruits a large neural network, including the cerebellum. The specific role of the cerebellum in bimanual coordination has not yet been studied in depth, although several studies indicate a differential role of the anterior and posterior cerebellum depending on the complexity of the coordination. An activation likelihood estimation (ALE) meta-analysis was used combining the data of several functional MRI studies involving bimanual coordination tasks with varying complexities to unravel the involvement of the different areas of the cerebellum in simple and complex bimanual coordination. This study confirms the general bimanual network as found by Puttemans et al. (Puttemans et al. in J Neurosci 25:4270-4278, 2005) and highlights the differences between preferred in-phase (simultaneous movements of homologous muscle groups) and anti-phase movement conditions (alternating movements of homologous muscle groups), and more complex, non-preferred bimanual movements (e.g., out-of-phase movements). Our results show a differential role for the anterior and posterior vermis in bimanual coordination, with a role for the anterior vermis in anti-phase and complex bimanual coordination, and an exclusive role for the posterior vermis in complex bimanual movements. In addition, the way complexity was manipulated also seems to play a role in the involvement of the anterior and posterior vermis. We hypothesize that the anterior vermis is involved in sequential/spatial control, while the posterior vermis is involved in temporal control of (bimanual) coordination, though other factors such as (visual) feedback and continuity of the movement also seem to have an impact. More studies are needed to unravel the specific role of the cerebellar vermis in bimanual coordination.

Keywords: Anterior cerebellum; Bimanual coordination; Cerebellar vermis; Complexity; Posterior cerebellum.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain Mapping*
  • Cerebellum / diagnostic imaging
  • Cerebellum / physiology
  • Functional Laterality* / physiology
  • Likelihood Functions
  • Movement / physiology
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology