John Libbey Eurotext

Revue de neuropsychologie


Role of the cerebellum in emotions Volume 15, issue 1, Janvier-Février-Mars 2023


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1 Laboratoire de neuropsychologie clinique et expérimentale, Faculté de psychologie et des sciences de l’éducation, Université de Genève, 40, bd du Pont d’Arve, 1205 Genève, Suisse
2 Unité de neuropsychologie clinique, Département de neurologie, Hôpitaux universitaires de Genève, Rue Gabrielle-Perret-Gentil 4, 1205 Genève, Suisse <>
* Correspondance : J. Péron

The role of the cerebellum in emotional processes has long been neglected in favor of its motor contribution. However, neuroanatomical and neuroimaging studies conducted at the end of the twentieth century point to the cerebellum’s functional integration in the neural network involved in emotional processing. Additionally, the results of clinical neuropsychological observations in humans have allowed researchers to develop theoretical propositions regarding the functional specialization and integration of brain networks beyond the cerebrum, including the basal ganglia and cerebellum, in the synchronization of emotion components. Indeed, componential approaches suggest that emotional processes are elicited and dynamically patterned by involving synchronized changes in distinct functional subsystem. All of these results lead to the hypothesis of a meta-cognitive role of the cerebellum in emotional processes and more particularly in the very fine adjustment of emotional responses through its ability to detect and minimize prediction error based on differences in the current state and the intended goal state. In particular, recent proposals suggest that the cerebellum participates in the continuous adjustment, in connection with the internal models, of the so-called “chunking” process. The clinical repercussions of all this research are also significant, since they invite the development of assessment and management tools that are better adapted to the functions underpinned by the cerebellum.