Intro | Amygdala | Brainstem | Cerebellum | Cerebrum | Corpus Callosum | Reticular Formation | Hippocampus | Hypothalamus | Medulla | Pituitary Gland | Pons | Spinal Cord | Thalamus
Part 1: Image-Mapped Tutorial
Part 2: Matching Self-Test
Part 3: Multiple-Choice Self-Test
Return to main tutorial page
The Cerebellum (little brain) is a part of the primitive hindbrain. This large structure of complex deep folds is found at the rear of the brain stem. The cerebellum is important in maintaining balance and motor coordination, functions that are disrupted by alcohol consumption. Behaviors involving fine motor skills such as writing, athletic, or artistic abilities are disrupted when the cerebellum is damaged.
The cerebellum is best known for its contributions to the control of movement. A common deficit following cerebellar damage is dysdiadochokinesia, the inability to perform alternating movements such as hand clapping. The cerebellum is also important for the control of saccades; the rapid eye movements that allow our eyes to fixate on successive objects of interest. It is difficult for the visual centers of the forebrain to process what we see in the absence of saccades. In addition to movement control, the cerebellum contributes to the thinking process. Lateral areas (off to the side) of the cerebellum affect the speed and accuracy of acquiring language. Individuals with damage to the cerebellum may have problems with memory and word choice, difficulties that underlie the learning disabilities of some children.