Human Cerebellum in Motivation and Emotion

  • Dennis J. L. G. Schutter


There is growing evidence which suggests that the cerebellum is implicated in processes related to motivation and emotion and in the regulation of these processes.

The evidence incorporates the notion of the tight link between motivation, emotion, and action as well as the rich connections of the cerebellum with the limbic system and cerebral cortex. In addition, functional neuroimaging studies have shown robust activation of the cerebellum during the processing of emotionally laden stimuli. Damage to cerebellar structures can lead to marked personality changes, emotion dysregulation and blunting of affect and structural abnormalities of the cerebellum have been reported in several psychopathological conditions. Invasive and noninvasive brain stimulation studies have further substantiated the proposed cerebellum-emotion link by providing direct evidence in controlled experiments. Current models built upon the idea that the cerebellum may work as a monitoring system integrating different aspects of limbic and cortical information processing and provides feedback to these brain areas to direct behavior. In spite of the available evidence the mechanism by which the human cerebellum contributes to processes related to motivation and emotion remain elusive and warrants further research.


Autism Spectrum Disorder Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Cerebellar Hemisphere Deep Cerebellar Nucleus Emotional Facial Expression 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This work was supported by an Innovational Research Grant (452-07-012) from the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO). Author reports no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Experimental Psychology, Faculty of Social SciencesUtrecht UniversityUtrechtThe Netherlands

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