Action selection and refinement in subcortical loops through basal ganglia and cerebellum

J. C. Houk*, C. Bastianen, D. Fansler, A. Fishbach, D. Fraser, P. J. Reber, S. A. Roy, L. S. Simo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

155 Scopus citations


Subcortical loops through the basal ganglia and the cerebellum form computationally powerful distributed processing modules (DPMs). This paper relates the computational features of a DPM's loop through the basal ganglia to experimental results for two kinds of natural action selection. First, functional imaging during a serial order recall task was used to study human brain activity during the selection of sequential actions from working memory. Second, microelectrode recordings from monkeys trained in a step-tracking task were used to study the natural selection of corrective submovements. Our DPM-based model assisted in the interpretation of puzzling data from both of these experiments. We come to posit that the many loops through the basal ganglia each regulate the embodiment of pattern formation in a given area of cerebral cortex. This operation serves to instantiate different kinds of action (or thought) mediated by different areas of cerebral cortex. We then use our findings to formulate a model of the aetiology of schizophrenia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1573-1583
Number of pages11
JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1485
StatePublished - Sep 29 2007


  • Error correction
  • Modularity
  • Pattern classification
  • Presynaptic inhibition
  • Schizophrenia
  • Serial order

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Action selection and refinement in subcortical loops through basal ganglia and cerebellum'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this