MRI reveals cerebellum acts as brain monitor to help improve cognitive, emotional function

Using MRI technology, researchers from Washington University in St. Louis have found the cerebellum—a part of the brain longingly ignored by scientists—is more involved higher-order thinking than previously thought, according to a report published Oct. 25 by NPR.  

The findings add to prior evidence suggesting that the cerebellum isn’t solely involved in sensory-motor function and may act as the brain’s ultimate quality control unit.  

For the study, researchers used MRI to examine various connections between the cerebellum and other brain areas in 10 individuals. They found that while 20 percent of the cerebellum was involved in physical motion, 80 percent was responsible for areas involved in functions such as abstract thinking, emotion and language, among other functions.  

Essentially, the cerebellum works as an “editor”, author Nico Dosenbach, PhD, a professor of neurology at Washington University, told NPR. Dosenbach also noted that it appears to automatically monitor the brain areas that are doing work and help them perform better, allowing the conscious mind to focus on important tasks.  

Read NPR’s entire article below.