One of the best-known regions of the brain, the cerebellum accounts for just 10 percent of the organ’s total volume, but contains more than 50 percent of its neurons.
Despite all [of its] processing power, it’s been assumed that the cerebellum functions largely outside the realm of conscious awareness, instead coordinating physical activities like standing and breathing. But now, neuroscientists have discovered that it plays an important role in the reward response – one of the main drives that motivate and shape human behavior.
[While observing] how the cerebellum controls muscles in mice, the Stanford team [was surprised to see] an apparent connection between the [neurons in the cerebellum] and the reward response triggered by sugar water…[W[hen they took the reward away altogether, this set off yet another group of [neurons] in the cerebellum.
“It was actually a side observation, that, wow, they actually respond to reward,” says one of the researchers.[The study can be found here.]
The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: Neuroscientists Have Accidentally Discovered a Whole New Role for the Cerebellum
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