Single unit and imaging studies have shown that the cerebellum is especially active during the acquisition phase of certain motor and cognitive tasks. These data are consistent with the hypothesis that particular sensorimotor procedures are acquired and stored in the cerebellar cortex and that this knowledge can then be exported to the cerebral cortex and premotor networks for more efficient execution. In this article we present a model to illustrate how the cerebellar cortex might guide the development of cortical- cerebellar network connections and how a similar mechanism operating in the adult could mediate the exportation of sensorimotor knowledge from the cerebellum to the motor cortex. The model consists of a three-layered recurrent network representing the cerebello-thalamocortical-ponto-cerebellar limb premotor network. The cerebellar cortex is not explicitly modeled. Our simulations show that Hebbian learning combined with weight normalization allows the emergence of reciprocal and modular structure in the limb premotor network. Reciprocal connections allow activity to reverberate around specific loops. Modularity organizes the connections into specific channels. Furthermore, we show that cerebellar learning can be exported to motor cortex through these modular and reciprocal premotor circuits. In particular, we simulate developmental alignment of visuomotor relations and their realignment as a consequence of prism exposure. The exportation of sensorimotor knowledge from the cerebellum to the motor cortex may allow faster and more efficient execution of learned motor responses.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
- Cognitive Neuroscience
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience