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Abstract

Objective: Several authors have proposed that the cerebellum has an important role in functions of higher order as a general mode of sequence detection, independently from the nature of the information. The aim of this study was to verify whether the cerebellum mediates the processing of navigational sequential information and to determine whether it is influenced by the modality of the stimuli presentation. Method: We tested 12 cerebellar patients and 12 healthy age-matched participants in 2 comparable navigational tasks (Walking Corsi Test and the Magic Carpet) requiring to memorizing a sequence of spatial locations. The 2 tasks differ each other for the modality of stimuli presentation: in the Walking Corsi Test the sequence is shown by an examiner that walks on the carpet, whereas in the Magic Carpet it is shown by a computer that lights up the tiles in the sequence. We hypothesize that different mental processes are implicated between the Walking Corsi Test and the Magic Carpet. Indeed, whereas watching the examiner, who performs the sequence on the carpet, allows the patient to simulate the action mentally in the Walking Corsi Test, such simulation cannot be triggered in the Magic Carpet. Results: Our results showed that cerebellar patients obtained scores significantly lower than control participants only in the Magic Carpet. Conclusions: We interpreted the patients' performance as a specific deficit in detecting and ordering single independent stimuli as a sequence, when the maintenance of stimulus-response associations is more demanding. (PsycINFO Database Record

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... Spatial memory locomotor neuropsychological assessment (SMLNP) Numerous SMLNPs paradigms have been developed [18] and applied in a variety of studies, ranging from establishing the relationship between critical components of human navigation, such as spatial representation, goaldirected navigation, learning, and spatial performance enhancement [19] to determining what, how, and which part of the brain contributes to navigational information processing [20]. ...
... Dr. Bernard Cohen's pilot test provided the experimental data, and the assessment was carried out in line with the Helsinki Declaration. The protocol was accepted by the Paris University ethics committee [20]. Each of the twenty-two individuals was assessed individually. ...
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Throughout this study, we employed unsupervised machine learning clustering algorithms, namely K-Means [1] and hierarchical agglomerative clustering (HAC) [2], to explore human locomotion and wayfinding using a VR Magic Carpet (VMC) [3], a table test version known as the Corsi Block Tapping task (CBT) [4]. This variation was carried out in the context of a virtual reality experimental setup. The participants were required to memorize a sequence of target positions projected on the rug and walk to each target figuring in the displayed sequence. the participant’s trajectory was collected and analyzed from a kinematic perspective. An earlier study [5] identified three different categories, but the classification remained ambiguous, implying that they include both kinds of individuals (normal and patients with cognitive spatial impairments). On this basis, we utilized K-Means and HAC to distinguish the navigation behavior of patients from normal individuals, emphasizing the most important discrepancies and then delving deeper to gain more insights.
... Clinical studies also provide some converging evidence. For example, Tedesco et al. [46] tested navigational working memory in 12 cerebellar patients and 12 healthy age-matched participants using 2 comparable navigational tests (Walking Corsi Test and the Magic Carpet) [2,47]. The Walking Corsi Test (i.e., WalCT) [9,48] includes nine black tiles (30 cm × 30 cm) that are placed on a light gray carpet (2.50 m × 3 m). ...
... In contrast, the role of the cerebellum in human navigation has been less explored despite evidence from animals' studies [36,51] consistently showing its key role in developing, storing, and retrieving cognitive maps of the environment. For instance, data suggest that it plays an important role in allowing to put in the correct sequence a set of spatial position [46] but it is still unclear the type of inputs that allows the cerebellum to play its role in human navigation. Given the functional anatomy of cerebellum, the input from the inferior olivar complex seems a possible candidate as it plays an important role in modulating the cerebellar activity and it could be involved in coding temporal/sequential features of different types of stimuli [52]. ...
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The cerebellum has a homogeneous structure and performs different computational functions such as modulation/coordination of the communication between cerebral regions, and regulation/integration of sensory information. Albeit cerebellar activity is generally associated with motor functions, several recent studies link it to various cognitive functions, including spatial navigation. In addition, cerebellar activity plays a modulatory role in different cognitive domains and brain processes. Depending on the network involved, cerebellar damage results in specific functional alterations, even when no function loss might be detected. In the present review, we discuss evidence of brainstem degeneration and of a substantial reduction of neurons in nuclei connected to the inferior olivary nucleus in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. Based on the rich patterns of afferences from the inferior olive nucleus to the cerebellum, we argue that the subtle alterations in spatial navigation described in the early stages of dementia stem from alterations of the neuromodulatory functions of the cerebellum.
... The CBT and SqPT were not administered, because in order to register the eye tracking, a computerized version should have been used instead of the original version in which the experimenter presented the sequences using their finger, and this difference in procedure might influence the performances. Indeed, recent evidence by Tedesco et al. (2017) showed that when a clinical population is presented with two similar tasks-such as the Bwalking Corsi,^with an examiner that walks on the carpet, and the Bmagic carpet,^in which a computer lights up the tiles in the sequence-different mental processes are implicated in solving the tasks. The authors suggested that in the walking Corsi test, the experimenter who performs the sequence on the carpet allows the patient to simulate the action mentally, whereas this simulation cannot be triggered by the magic carpet (Tedesco et al., 2017). ...
... Indeed, recent evidence by Tedesco et al. (2017) showed that when a clinical population is presented with two similar tasks-such as the Bwalking Corsi,^with an examiner that walks on the carpet, and the Bmagic carpet,^in which a computer lights up the tiles in the sequence-different mental processes are implicated in solving the tasks. The authors suggested that in the walking Corsi test, the experimenter who performs the sequence on the carpet allows the patient to simulate the action mentally, whereas this simulation cannot be triggered by the magic carpet (Tedesco et al., 2017). These data led us to exclude the possibility of comparing computer versions of the CBT and SqPT to our original tasks; thus, we did not include these two tasks in Experiment 2. ...
Article
Several studies have demonstrated that the processing of visuospatial memory for locations in reaching space and in navigational space is supported by independent systems, and that the coding of visuospatial information depends on the modality of the presentation (i.e., sequential or simultaneous). However, these lines of evidence and the most common neuropsychological tests used by clinicians to investigate visuospatial memory have several limitations (e.g., they are unable to analyze all the subcomponents of this function and are not directly comparable). Therefore, we developed a new battery of tests that is able to investigate these subcomponents. We recruited 71 healthy subjects who underwent sequential and simultaneous navigational tests by using an innovative sensorized platform, as well as comparable paper tests to evaluate the same components in reaching space (Exp. 1). Consistent with the literature, the principal-component method of analysis used in this study demonstrated the presence of distinct memory for sequences in different portions of space, but no distinction was found for simultaneous presentation, suggesting that different modalities of eye gaze exploration are used when subjects have to perform different types of tasks. For this purpose, an infrared Tobii Eye-Tracking X50 system was used in both spatial conditions (Exp. 2), showing that a clear effect of the presentation modality was due to the specific strategy used by subjects to explore the stimuli in space. Given these findings, the neuropsychological battery established in the present study allows us to show basic differences in the normal coding of stimuli, which can explain the specific visuospatial deficits found in various neurological conditions.
... The WalCT (Fig. 2) (Piccardi et al. 2008a consists of a larger version of the Corsi Block-Tapping Test (CBT, Corsi 1972) (3 m × 2.5 m; scale 1:10 of the CBT). The WalCT has been repeatedly used in experimental and clinical practice (e.g., Piccardi et al. 2008bPiccardi et al. , 2010Piccardi et al. , 2018Piccardi et al. , 2019Piccardi et al. , 2020Bianchini et al. 2010Bianchini et al. , 2014Nemmi et al. 2013;Palermo et al. 2014;Palmiero et al. 2015Palmiero et al. , 2016Palmiero and Piccardi 2017;Tedesco et al. 2017) to assess memory of short paths in a vista navigational space. According to Wolbers and Wiener (2014, p. 3), the vista space is 'the space that can be visually apprehended from a single location or with only little exploratory movements". ...
Article
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Travel planning (TP) is a kind of planning devoted to spatial orientation that is distinguishable from general planning (GP). It is crucial to reach a destination, since it allows to select the best route according to the environmental features (e.g., the one with little traffic or the safest). TP is also needed to avoid obstacles along the way and to put in place effective strategies to support navigation. TP involves several cognitive processes, such as visuo-spatial and topographic memory as well as other executive functions (i.e., general planning, cognitive flexibility, problem solving, and divergent thinking) and it is affected by internal factors (such as gender, cognitive strategies, age). Here, we focused on the effects of visuo-spatial (VSWM) and topographic (TWM) working memory on TP, using the Minefield Task (MFT), a new tool aimed at testing TP. We tested VSWM, TWM, GP, and TP in 44 college students. First, we checked for gender differences in all the tasks proposed and then assessed the relation among VSWM, TWM, GP, and TP. Results showed that even though gender difference could be found on TWM, GP, and TP, significative correlations emerged among TP, VSWM, and GP as well as a tendency to significance for VSWM and GP in the regression analyses. Though more evidence is needed, these results suggest that when a brand-new route is computed, GP and VSWM can be the most relevant processes, whereas topographic memory was less involved, probably because the MFT does not require to recall a route from memory. The implications of these results in clinical settings are discussed.
... It may lead to complete dependence on others, or even to death, if experienced in a dangerous environment. In spite of a large amount of studies on navigation deficits in patients with neurological deficits (1)(2)(3)(4)(5), the availability of validated diagnostic tools for navigation disorders is still extremely limited. In addition, there are no studies assessing navigation in patients with neurodevelopmental disorders, as Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). ...
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Navigation is a complex process, requiring target localization, route planning or retrieval, and physical displacement. Executive functions (EFs) such as working memory, inhibition and planning are fundamental for succeeding in this complex activity and are often impaired in Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Our aim was to analyze the feasibility of a new ecological navigation task, the Virtual City paradigm™ (VC™) to test visuo-spatial memory and EFs in children with ADHD. Visuo-spatial short and working memory, inhibition and planning skills were tested with standardized tasks. The VC™, a new paradigm developed by our group, used the Virtual Carpet TM technology, consisting of a virtual town with houses, streets and crossroads projected on the ground. It includes a motion capture system, tracking body movement in 3D in real time. In one condition, children were required to walk through the city and reach a sequence of houses. In the other, before walking, they had to plan the shortest path to reach the houses, inhibiting the prepotent response to start walking. The results show a good feasibility of the paradigm (feasibility checklist and ad hoc questionnaire), being ecological and motivating. VC™ measures of span positively correlated with visuo-spatial short and working memory measures, suggesting that VC™ heavily relies on efficient spatial memory. Individual subject analyses suggested that children with ADHD may approach this task differently from typically developing children. Larger samples of ADHD and healthy children may further explore the specific role of EFs and memory, potentially opening new avenues for intervention.
... In these experiments (similar to in [17,18]), motor and spatial-motor interferences do not impair performance on the landmark WalCT, supporting the evidence that the motor component is automatic and not explicitly processed during navigation. In line with this, patients with cerebellar deficits also showed no problem with the WalCT due to motor impairment [38]. These findings also shed some light on the role of spatial language in landmark-based working memory, suggesting that even in this case language represents something that we usually use as we move around the environment without being affected by it. ...
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In the present study, we employed the dual task technique to explore the role of language in topographical working memory when landmarks are present along the path. We performed three experiments to mainly test the effects of language but also motor, spatial motor and spatial environment interferences on topographical working memory. We aimed to clarify both the role of language in navigational working memory per se and the extent to which spatial language interferes with the main task more than the other types of interference. Specifically, in the three experiments we investigated the differences due to different verbal interference sources (i.e., articulatory suppression of nonsense syllables; right and left, up and bottom; and north, south, east and west). The main hypothesis was that the use of spatial language affected more landmark-based topographical working memory than both the verbalization of nonsense syllables and other types of interference. Results show no effect of spatial language, only spatial environmental interference affected the navigational working memory performance. In general, this might depend on the scarce role of spatial language in online navigational working memory tasks. Specifically, language is more important for learning and retrieval of the cognitive map. Implications and future research directions are discussed.
... A recent study by Olivito et al. [7] found a significant correlation between the performance on visuospatial tasks and gray matter loss in different cerebellar regions (lobules VIIB, VIIIA, Crus I, Crus II, lobule V, and vermis). Involvement of the cerebellum in the acquisition of spatial procedural elements is an important aspect of its role [8,9]. Moreover, both the experimental and clinical reports indicate that the cerebellum is a significant structure involved in spatial learning and strategies, which is necessary to carry out visuospatial tasks [2,10,11]. ...
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[Full text: https://rdcu.be/bJm3o]The involvement of the cerebellum in visuospatial abilities has been evidenced in numerous studies, based on the cerebellar-cortical circuitry. This domain has been evaluated in several patients with cerebellar disorders, but the assessment of visuospatial processing in Chiari malformation type I (CM-I) is scarce. The aim of this study is to analyze the visuospatial performance between CM-I adult patients and healthy controls. Participants have been tested using Block Design and Visual Puzzles subtests of the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS), the Benton Judgment of Line Orientation test, and the Rey-Osterrieth Complex Figure test. The anxious-depressive symptomatology, the physical pain, and the premorbid intelligence have been controlled for, as well. The CM-I patients showed a significantly lower performance; however, after analyzing and controlling for the effect of clinical variables and psychopathological symptomatology, the main effect was maintained for visual puzzles and line orientation tasks. The findings suggest that CM-I patients show a poorer performance in tasks that require an exercise of perceptual reasoning without motor demand, accompanied by visualization and mental imagery of the stimuli. This study contributes towards the reinforcement of the evidence on the cognitive alterations associated to CM-I.
... The WalCT is a larger version (3 9 2.5 m; scale 1:10) of the Corsi Block Tapping Test (Corsi, 1972), composed of nine black squares (30 9 30 cm) placed on the floor. It has been used for experimental and clinical purposes (Palmiero & Piccardi, 2017;Piccardi et al., 2008Piccardi et al., , 2015Tedesco et al., 2017;Verde et al., 2015Verde et al., , 2016 to investigate topographical memory. In the TL, participants had to learn a fixed supra-span 8-block sequence. ...
Article
Notwithstanding its well‐established role on high‐demanding spatial navigation tasks during adulthood, the effect of field dependence–independence during the acquisition of spatial navigation skills is almost unknown. This study assessed for the first time the effect of field dependence–independence on topographical learning (TL) across the life span: 195 individuals, including 54 healthy young‐adults (age‐range = 20–30), 46 teenagers (age‐range = 11–14), and 95 children (age‐range = 6–9) participated in this study. Field dependence–independence interacted with age in predicting TL. Also during childhood higher field independence was associated with better performances but not later in the life, that is, during adolescence and adulthood. This result suggests that field dependence–independence may have a role in fostering the acquisition of TL.
... Walking Corsi Test (WalCT: Piccardi et al., 2008bPiccardi et al., , 2013 Walking Corsi Test (WalCT) is a large-scale version of the Corsi Block Tapping Test (CBT; Corsi, 1972) and has been repeatedly used in experimental and clinical practice (e.g., Piccardi et al., 2008bPiccardi et al., , 2010Piccardi et al., , 2015Bianchini et al., 2010Bianchini et al., , 2014aNemmi et al., 2013;Palermo et al., 2014;Verde et al., 2015;Palmiero et al., 2016;Tedesco et al., 2017) to assess memory of short paths in a vista space. According Wolbers and Wiener (2014), the vista space is ''the space that can be visually apprehended from a single location or with only little exploratory movements. . ...
Article
Exposure to environmental contextual changes, such as those occurring after an earthquake, requires individuals to learn novel routes around their environment, landmarks and spatial layout. In this study, we aimed to uncover whether contextual changes that occurred after the 2009 L’Aquila earthquake affected topographic memory in exposed survivors. We hypothesized that individuals exposed to environmental changes—individuals living in L’Aquila before, during and after the earthquake (hereafter called exposed participants, EPs)—improved their topographic memory skills compared with non-exposed participants (NEPs) who moved to L’Aquila after the earthquake, as only EPs had to modify their previous cognitive map of L’Aquila. We also hypothesized that memory improvement was selective for the navigational space and did not generalize across other spatial and verbal domains. To test these hypotheses, we compared the topographic and spatial memory skills of 56 EPs without post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms to the skills of 47 NEPs using the Walking Corsi Test (WalCT; memory test in the navigational space) and the Corsi Block-Tapping Test (CBT; visuospatial memory test in the reaching space); EPs and NEPs were matched for gender, education and general navigational skills. A sub-group of participants also underwent the Rey-Auditory Verbal Learning Test (RAVLT; verbal memory test). The results showed that only EPs had better performances on topographic learning (TL) assessed using the WalCT rather than spatial learning assessed by the CBT. This outcome suggests the possibility that EPs specifically improved topographic memory. This effect may be due to continuous exposure to environmental changes that have required individuals to learn novel paths within the city and integrate novel information, such as “new towns,” into their pre-existing mental representation of the city. Implications and limitations of the study are discussed.
... Basal ganglia have been linked to stimulus-response strategies of navigation [31]. Navigation-induced cerebellar activations could reflect sequence-based, non-allocentric navigation such as route learning [32,33]. ...
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Objective: To establish a novel multimodal real-space navigation paradigm and define age- and gender-related normative values for navigation performance and visual exploration strategies in space. Methods: A group of 30 healthy subjects (mean age 45.9 ± 16.5 years, 16 men) performed a real-space navigation paradigm, requiring allo- and egocentric spatial orientation abilities. Visual exploration behaviour and navigation strategy were documented by a gaze-controlled, head-fixed camera. Allo- and egocentric spatial orientation performance were compared in younger and older subjects (age threshold 50 years) as well as men and women. Navigation-induced changes of regional cerebral glucose metabolism (rCGM) were measured by [18F]-fluorodeoxyglucose-positron emission tomography in a subgroup of 15 subjects (8 men) and compared across age and gender. Results: The majority of healthy subjects (73.3%) completed the navigation task without errors. There was no gender difference in navigation performance. Normalized total error rates increased slightly, but significantly with age (r = 0.36, p = 0.05). Analysis of navigation path indicated a significantly reduced use of short cuts in older age (r = 0.44, p = 0.015). Visual exploration analysis revealed that older subjects made significantly more total saccades (r = 0.49, p = 0.006) and search saccades (r = 0.54, p = 0.002) during navigation. All visual exploration parameters were similar in men and women. Navigation-induced rCGM decreased with age in the hippocampus and precuneus and increased in the frontal cortex, basal ganglia and cerebellum. Women showed an increase of rCGM in the left hippocampus and right middle temporal gyrus, men in the superior vermis. Conclusion: Real-space navigation testing was a feasible and sensitive method to depict age-related changes in navigation performance and strategy. Normalized error rates, total mean durations per item and total number of saccades were the most sensitive and practical parameters to indicate deterioration of allocentric navigation strategies and right hippocampal function in age irrespective of gender.
... Using the CBT has several advantages, for example it has been used with all age ranges from pre-schoolers to octogenarians and even though it was developed in 1972 it has been recently re-standardized by Monaco, Costa, Caltagirone, and Carlesimo (2013) and by Piccardi et al. (2013) on large samples. The CBT is widely used in clinical and experimental settings, since it allows the assessment of deficits in immediate nonverbal memory (Bianchini et al., 2010;De Renzi & Nichelli, 1975;De Renzi, Faglioni, & Previdi, 1977;Morris et al., 1988;Piccardi et al., 2016Piccardi et al., , 2008aPiccardi et al., , 2014aTedesco et al., 2017), as well as developmental changes and gender differences in spatial WM skills (Capitani, Laiacona, & Ciceri, 1991;Isaacs & Vargha-Khadem, 1989;Orsini et al., 1986;Piccardi et al., 2008b;Piccardi, Leonzi, D'Amico, Marano, & Guariglia, 2014a, 2014b,2014cVerde et al., 2015). The CBT also helps to clarify theoretical conceptions of visuo-spatial memory (Jones, Farrand, Stuart, & Morris, 1995; for an extensive review of methodological and theoretical considerations see Berch, Krikorian, & Huha, 1998). ...
Article
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The Enhanced Cognitive Interview (ECI) is one of the most useful witness interviews, consisting of 5 techniques (context reinstatement: CR; report everything: RE, mental imagery: MI, change order: CO and change of perspectives: CP) aimed at increasing both the quantity and the quality of elements recalled. All the techniques require mental imagery skills. The present study investigates the relationship between forward and backward visuo-spatial working memory (VSWM) and correct elements recalled through the ECI with respect to its techniques. 99 college students (48 males) watched a colour videotape of a fictional crime and performed a visuo-spatial working memory task. The following day they were interviewed about what they had seen. Results showed that high forward VSWM capacity has a role in favouring the total amount of correct information recalled, specifically in the MI technique. This suggests that maintaining and processing mood-related contents in VSWM is easier for individuals with high working memory skills.
... For instance, converging findings suggest that the cerebellum contributes to the recognition of (recurrent) temporal and spatial relations among stimuli. Indeed, cerebellar lesions impair the ability to recognize serial events as sequences and to identify correct vs. violated sequences of different kind (e.g., verbal, spatial and action sequences) [5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12][13] . Schubotz and von Cramon's study 14 indicates that the cerebellum is also a critical structure in identifying serial events and their violations. ...
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Growing evidence suggests that the cerebellum is not only involved in motor functions, but it significantly contributes to sensory and cognitive processing as well. In particular, it has been hypothesized that the cerebellum identifies recurrent serial events and recognizes their violations. Here we used transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to shed light on the role of the cerebellum in short-term memory of visual sequences. In two experiments, we found that TMS over the right cerebellar hemisphere impaired participants’ ability to recognize the correct order of appearance of geometrical stimuli varying in shape and/or size. In turn, cerebellar TMS did not affect recognition of highly familiar short sequences of letters or numbers. Overall, our data suggest that the cerebellum is involved in memorizing the order in which (concatenated) stimuli appear, this process being important for sequence learning.
... For instance, converging findings suggest that the cerebellum contributes to the recognition of (recurrent) temporal and spatial relations among stimuli. Indeed, cerebellar lesions impair the ability to recognize serial events as sequences and to identify correct vs. violated sequences of different kind (e.g., verbal, spatial and action sequences) [5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12][13] . Schubotz and von Cramon's study 14 indicates that the cerebellum is also a critical structure in identifying serial events and their violations. ...
Article
Full-text available
Growing evidence suggests that the cerebellum is not only involved in motor functions, but it significantly contributes to sensory and cognitive processing as well. In particular, it has been hypothesized that the cerebellum identifies recurrent serial events and recognizes their violations. Here we used transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to shed light on the role of the cerebellum in short-term memory of visual sequences. In two experiments, we found that TMS over the right cerebellar hemisphere impaired participants’ ability to recognize the correct order of appearance of geometrical stimuli varying in shape and/or size. In turn, cerebellar TMS did not affect recognition of highly familiar short sequences of letters or numbers. Overall, our data suggest that the cerebellum is involved in memorizing the order in which (concatenated) stimuli appear, this process being important for sequence learning.
Chapter
In this paper, we use computational tools [1] to explore human navigation through an example of a visuomotor spatial memory locomotor task, the Walking Corsi task (WCT) variant from a well-known table test known as the Corsi Block Tapping task [(CBT) [2] and [15]. This variant was performed using the “Virtual Carpet” ™ experimental setup. The subjects had to memorize a succession of the position of targets projected on the ground and reproduce sequences of 2 to 9 targets by walking to each. The trajectory of the head was recorded and processed from a kinematic point of view. Generic tools that computational data analytics provides and through computer simulations by replicating visually this data allowed categorization of the different features of the behavior of the subjects providing a new powerful tool for both normal and pathological behavior characterization.
Article
Background: Spatial orientation is a complex process involving vestibular sensory input and possibly cognitive ability. Previous research demonstrated that rotational spatial orientation was worse for individuals with profound bilateral vestibular dysfunction. Objective: Determine whether rotational and linear vestibular function were independently associated with large amplitude rotational spatial orientation perception in healthy aging. Methods: Tests of rotational spatial orientation accuracy and vestibular function [vestibulo-ocular reflex (VOR), ocular and cervical vestibular evoked myogenic potentials (VEMP)] were administered to 272 healthy community-dwelling adults participating in the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging. Using a mixed model multiple linear regression we regressed spatial orientation errors on lateral semicircular canal function, utricular function (ocular VEMP), and saccular function (cervical VEMP) in a single model controlling for rotation size, age, and sex. Results: After adjusting for age, and sex, individuals with bilaterally low VOR gain (β= 20.9, p = 0.014) and those with bilaterally absent utricular function (β= 9.32, p = 0.017) made significantly larger spatial orientation errors relative to individuals with normal vestibular function. Conclusions: The current results demonstrate for the first time that either bilateral lateral semicircular canal dysfunction or bilateral utricular dysfunction are associated with worse rotational spatial orientation. We also demonstrated in a healthy aging cohort that increased age also contributes to spatial orientation ability.
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Verbal working memory is one of the most studied non-motor functions with robust cerebellar involvement. While the superior cerebellum (lobule VI) has been associated with articulatory control, the inferior cerebellum (lobule VIIIa) has been linked to phonological storage. The present study was aimed to elucidate the differential roles of these regions by investigating whether the cerebellum might contribute to verbal working memory via predictions based on sequence learning/detection. 19 healthy adult subjects completed an fMRI-based Sternberg task which included repeating and novel letter sequences that were phonologically similar or dissimilar. It was hypothesized that learning a repeating sequence of study letters would reduce phonological storage demand and associated right inferior cerebellar activations and that this effect would be modulated by phonological similarity of the study letters. Specifically, while increased phonological storage demand due to high phonological similarity was expected to be reflected in increased right inferior cerebellar activations for similar relative to dissimilar study letters, the reduction in activation for repeating relative to novel sequences was expected to be more profound for phonologically similar than for dissimilar study letters, especially at higher memory load. Results confirmed the typical effects of cognitive load (5 vs. 2 study letters) and phonological similarity in several cerebellar and neocortical brain regions as well as in behavioral data (accuracy and response time). Importantly, activations in superior and inferior cerebellar regions were differentially modulated as a function of similarity and sequence novelty, indicating that particularly lobule VIIIa may contribute to verbal working memory by generating predictions of letter sequences that reduce the likelihood of phonological loop failure before stored items need to be retrieved. The present study is consistent with other investigations that support prediction, which can be based on sequence learning or detection, as an overarching cerebellar function.
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Various lines of evidence accumulated over the past 30 years indicate that the cerebellum, long recognized as essential for motor control, also has considerable influence on perceptual processes. In this paper, we bring together experts from psychology and neuroscience, with the aim of providing a succinct but comprehensive overview of key findings related to the involvement of the cerebellum in sensory perception. The contributions cover such topics as anatomical and functional connectivity, evolutionary and comparative perspectives, visual and auditory processing, biological motion perception, nociception, self-motion, timing, predictive processing, and perceptual sequencing. While no single explanation has yet emerged concerning the role of the cerebellum in perceptual processes, this consensus paper summarizes the impressive empirical evidence on this problem and highlights diversities as well as commonalities between existing hypotheses. In addition to work with healthy individuals and patients with cerebellar disorders, it is also apparent that several neurological conditions in which perceptual disturbances occur, including autism and schizophrenia, are associated with cerebellar pathology. A better understanding of the involvement of the cerebellum in perceptual processes will thus likely be important for identifying and treating perceptual deficits that may at present go unnoticed and untreated. This paper provides a useful framework for further debate and empirical investigations into the influence of the cerebellum on sensory perception.
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To examine the cerebellar contribution to human spatial navigation we used functional magnetic resonance imaging and virtual reality. Our findings show that the sensory-motor requirements of navigation induce activity in cerebellar lobules and cortical areas known to be involved in the motor loop and vestibular processing. By contrast, cognitive aspects of navigation mainly induce activity in a different cerebellar lobule (VIIA Crus I). Our results demonstrate a functional link between cerebellum and hippocampus in humans and identify specific functional circuits linking lobule VIIA Crus I of the cerebellum to medial parietal, medial prefrontal, and hippocampal cortices in nonmotor aspects of navigation. They further suggest that Crus I belongs to 2 nonmotor loops, involved in different strategies: place-based navigation is supported by coherent activity between left cerebellar lobule VIIA Crus I and medial parietal cortex along with right hippocampus activity, while sequence-based navigation is supported by coherent activity between right lobule VIIA Crus I, medial prefrontal cortex, and left hippocampus. These results highlight the prominent role of the human cerebellum in both motor and cognitive aspects of navigation, and specify the cortico-cerebellar circuits by which it acts depending on the requirements of the task. Epub 2014 Jun 19.
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Subjects with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) have disturbances in their spatial navigation abilities and exhibit early deficits in visuospatial short-term memory. The purpose of the present study was to determine whether a quantitative (span score) and qualitative (evaluating navigation strategies used) analysis of the Corsi test (usual condition and complex navigation task) would be useful to reveal cognitive decline. We evaluated the performance of 15 young adults, 21 healthy elderly subjects and 15 subjects with MCI using the electronic version of the Corsi test (the Modified Corsi Block-Tapping Test, MCBT) and the complex navigation task (the Modified Walking Corsi Test, MWCT). The MWCT, which is an adaptation of the Corsi test, assesses spatial memory when the subject walks in a complex environment. We used Richard et al.'s model [Cogn Sci 1993;17:497-529] to investigate problem-solving strategies during the Corsi tests. The span scores obtained on the MCBT and the MWCT were significantly lower in the healthy elderly subjects (MCBT = 5.0 ± 0.7; MWCT = 4.0 ± 0.7) and the subjects with MCI (MCBT = 4.7 ± 0.8; MWCT = 4.1 ± 0.9) than in the younger adults (MCBT = 6.2 ± 0.6; MWCT = 5.3 ± 1.0). The visuospatial working memory was more impaired in the complex navigation task (MWCT = 4.3 ± 0.9) than in the modified Corsi test (MCBT = 5.3 ± 0.8). Finally, the subjects with greater cognitive impairment were more likely to have inadequate or absence of problem-solving strategies. Investigating the problem-solving strategies used during the MWCT appears to be a promising way to differentiate between the subjects with MCI and the healthy elderly subjects.
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While the cerebellum's role in motor function is well recognized, the nature of its concurrent role in cognitive function remains considerably less clear. The current consensus paper gathers diverse views on a variety of important roles played by the cerebellum across a range of cognitive and emotional functions. This paper considers the cerebellum in relation to neurocognitive development, language function, working memory, executive function, and the development of cerebellar internal control models and reflects upon some of the ways in which better understanding the cerebellum's status as a "supervised learning machine" can enrich our ability to understand human function and adaptation. As all contributors agree that the cerebellum plays a role in cognition, there is also an agreement that this conclusion remains highly inferential. Many conclusions about the role of the cerebellum in cognition originate from applying known information about cerebellar contributions to the coordination and quality of movement. These inferences are based on the uniformity of the cerebellum's compositional infrastructure and its apparent modular organization. There is considerable support for this view, based upon observations of patients with pathology within the cerebellum.
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The cerebellar role in non-motor functions is supported by the clinical finding that lesions confined to cerebellum produce the cerebellar cognitive affective syndrome. Nevertheless, there is no consensus regarding the overall cerebellar contribution to cognition. Among other reasons, this deficiency might be attributed to the small sample sizes and narrow breadths of existing studies on lesions in cerebellar patients, which have focused primarily on a single cognitive domain. The aim of this study was to examine the expression of cerebellar cognitive affective syndrome with regard to lesion topography in a large group of subjects with cerebellar damage. We retrospectively analysed charts from patients in the Ataxia Lab of Santa Lucia Foundation between 1997 and 2007. Of 223 charts, 156 were included in the study, focusing on the importance of the cerebellum in cognition and the relevance of lesion topography in defining the cognitive domains that have been affected. Vascular topography and the involvement of deep cerebellar nuclei were the chief factors that determined the cognitive profile. Of the various cognitive domains, the ability to sequence was the most adversely affected in nearly all subjects, supporting the hypothesis that sequencing is a basic cerebellar operation.
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Recent reports show that humans and animals do not acquire information about routes and object locations in the same way. In spatial memory, a specific sub-system is hypothesized to be involved in encoding, storing and recalling navigational information, and it is segregated from the sub-system devoted to small-scale environment. We assessed this hypothesis in a sample of patients treated surgically for intractable temporal lobe epilepsy. We found double dissociations between learning and recall of spatial positions in large space versus small space. These results strongly support the hypothesis that two segregate systems process navigational memory for large-scale environments and spatial memory in small-scale environments.
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Rats of the DA/HAN strain (pigmented rats) were submitted to two experimental tasks consisting in spatial learning (water escape experiment) and in passive avoidance conditioning. These rats were either totally or partially deprived of their granule cells using two different schedules of postnatal X-irradiation of the cerebellum. When they were 3 months old, the animals were submitted to an initial learning session, followed by a retrieval test seven days later. The scores of the rats which were partially deprived of granule cells appeared similar to those of controls, except for a mild deficiency of spatial learning. The learning and retrieval scores of the rats totally deprived of granule cells were similar to those of controls at the passive avoidance conditioning task, but these animals were unable to accurately learn a spatial task and showed memory impairments relative to controls. These results are discussed in terms of cognitive defects.
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Lurcher mutant (+/Lc) mice exhibit a massive loss of neurons in the cerebellar cortex and in the inferior olivary nucleus while deep cerebellar nuclei are essentially intact. To discriminate the respective participation of the cerebellar cortex and deep structures in learning and memory, the authors subjected 3- to 6-month-old +/Lc mice to a delayed spontaneous alternation task to test their working and long-term spatial memories. Results show that wild type (+/+) mice alternated above chance even after a 1-hr delay between the forced and choice trials, whereas in +/Lc mice, long-term memory was impaired. Cerebellectomized +/+ mice behave as +/Lc mice (working memory was preserved but long-term memory was not), whereas in the cerebellectomized +/Lc mice, both working and long-term memories were altered. These results are discussed in terms of relationships between the cerebellum and the hippocampus.
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The aim of the present study was to investigate the influence of focal cerebellar lesions on procedural learning. Eight patients with cerebellar lesions and six control subjects were tested in a serial reaction-time task. A four-choice reaction-time task was employed in which the stimuli followed (or not) a sequence repeated 10 times, with the subjects aware (or not) of the item sequence. Learning was manifested by the reduction in response latency over the sequential blocks. Acquisition of declarative knowledge of the sequence was also tested. Reaction times displayed by patients with cerebellar lesions, even though they tended to be longer than those of control subjects in all testing conditions, significantly differed from control subjects only when the stimuli were presented in sequence. The reaction times in sequential trials were still statistically significant when simple motor response times were taken into account. Cerebellar patients were also significantly impaired in detecting and repeating the sequence. On the other hand, when the sequence was learned before testing, motor performances were significantly improved in all subjects. These data indicate that cerebellar lesions induce specific impairment in the procedural learning of a motor sequence and suggest a role of the cerebellar circuitry in detecting and recognizing event sequences.
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Introduction: Human navigation is a very complex ability that encompasses all four stages of human information processing (sensory input, perception/cognition, selection, and execution of an action), involving both cognitive and physical requirements. During flight, the pilot uses all of these stages and one of the most critical aspect is interference. In fact, spatial tasks competing for the same cognitive resource cause greater distraction from a concurrent task than another task that uses different resource modalities. Methods: Here we compared and contrasted the performance of pilots and nonpilots of both genders performing increasingly complex navigational memory tasks while exposed to various forms of interference. We investigated the effects of four different sources of interference: motor, spatial motor, verbal, and spatial environment, focusing on gender differences. Results: We found that flight experts perform better than controls (Pilots: 6.50 ± 1.29; Nonpilots: 5.45 ± 1.41). Furthermore, in the general population, navigational working memory is compromised only by spatial environmental interference (Nonpilots: 4.52 ± 1.50); female nonpilots were less able than male nonpilots. Also, the flight expert group showed the same interference, even if reduced (Pilots: 5.24 ± 0.92); moreover, we highlighted a complete absence of gender-related effects. Discussion: Spatial environmental interference is the only interference producing a decrease in performance. Nevertheless, pilots are less affected than the general population. This is probably a consequence of the need to commit substantial cognitive resources to process spatial information during flight.
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The present review analyse the relationship between visuo-spatial working memory (VSWM) in wayfinding, which is the ability to move successfully through the environment. As the results of research on individual differences in wayfinding are mixed, various explanation have to be considered. In this chapter, we will analyze these findings in light of the different component of VSWM proposed by Logie (1995, 2003) and a more recent model by Cornoldi and Vecchi (2003). We will also investigate the development of VSWM and how its changes in older adults, causing a decrease in wayfinding ability. For example, evidence from studies of route learning and memory for object location indicates an aging-related decrement in piloting, particularly in unfamiliar surroundings. On the one hand, the decline in landmark-based navigation could be the result of diminished path integration skill, particularly if path integration typically provides a supplemental informational for piloting. On the other hand, the more basic path integration process may retain its operational integrity beyond the time that association-based piloting begins to reflect a general age-related decline in learning rate. In this chapter, we considered these different explanations in relation to theories about VSWM. Finally, we consider the results of studies on brain-damagedpatients demonstrating the importance of the ventromedial prefrontal cortex, which is necessary to maintain active the goal destination in VSWM for use in navigation.
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Visual-spatial impairment is a fundamental disorder in cerebral palsy (CP). However, current spatial testing is restricted to reaching space, whereas navigational space is seldom assessed. The Magic Carpet test, derived from the Corsi Block-tapping Task (CBT) for visual-spatial memory, is a new developmental test for navigation. The performances of the Magic Carpet test and CBT were assessed in 17 children with unilateral and bilateral spastic CP. The results were compared with an equal number of typically developing children, matched for age and sex. Magnetic resonance imaging scans of children with CP were scored according to a newly validated semi-quantitative classification. CBT span was significantly lower in CP, especially in bilateral forms, than in the comparison group, whereas the Magic Carpet test span did not significantly differ between the groups. CBT span, but not the Magic Carpet span, was related to gestational age at birth and to basic visual function. Both the CBT span and the Magic Carpet test were related to overall right-hemispheric impairment. In addition, CBT correlated with right periventricular impairment. In CP, navigation is differently impaired than visual spatial memory, and less tightly related to preterm birth, basic visual function, and deep white matter injury. The exploration of navigational space could prove useful in enhancing spatial representation and reference-frame manipulation in CP. © 2015 The Authors. Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology © 2015 Mac Keith Press.
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The aim of this study was to determine whether an egocentric topographical working memory (WM) deficit is present in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease (AD) with respect to other forms of visuospatial WM. Further, we would investigate whether this deficit could be present in patients having AD without topographical disorientation (TD) signs in everyday life assessed through an informal interview to caregivers. Seven patients with AD and 20 healthy participants performed the Walking Corsi Test and the Corsi Block-Tapping Test. The former test requires memorizing a sequence of places by following a path and the latter is a well-known visuospatial memory task. Patients with AD also performed a verbal WM test to exclude the presence of general WM impairments. Preliminary results suggest that egocentric topographical WM is selectively impaired, with respect to visuospatial and verbal WM, even without TD suggesting an important role of this memory in the early stages of AD.
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Spatial information processing is influenced by the space in which an individual acts and the nature of the stimulus. This distinction is also present in spatial memory, where stimuli are processed differently because of their nature and the space in which they are released. The aim of the present study was to compare college students' performance on spatial location and pathway memory tasks in two different domains (reaching and walking). Reaching space refers to the portion of space within "grasping distance" and walking space to that beyond arm's reach. Research results indicate that it is easier to remember a pathway in the walking than the reaching domain and to remember single spatial locations in the reaching domain. Women are more able to perform the task in the walking domain than the reaching domain and men perform equally well in both domains.
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The ability to learn complex environments may require the contribution of different types of working memory. Therefore, we investigated the development of different types of working memory (navigational, reaching, and verbal) in 129 typically developing children. We aimed to determine whether navigational working memory develops at the same rate as other types of working memory and whether the gender differences reported in adults are already present during development. We found that navigational working memory is less developed than both verbal and reaching working memory and that gender predicts performance only for navigational working memory. Our results are in line with reports that children made significantly more errors in far space than adults, showing that near space representation develops before far space representation.
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We report normative data on topographical working memory collected through the Walking Corsi Test (WalCT; Piccardi et al., 2008) for developing a standard administration procedure to be used in clinical and educational practice. A total of 268 typically developing Italian children aged 4–11 years performed both WalCT and Corsi Block-Tapping Test (CBT; Corsi, 1972) a well-known visuo-spatial memory test. WalCT has already been validated in adults, demonstrat- ing sensitivity in detecting topographical memory deficits even in individuals who have no other memory impairments. Our results showed that age, but not sex, affected performances. Both girls and boys had a larger span on the CBT than the WalCT. The youngest group did not differ in performing WalCT and CBT, but from 5.6 years of age children performed better on CBT than WalCT, suggesting that memory in reaching space develops before topographical memory. Only after 5 years of age do children learn to process specifically topographical stimuli, suggesting that this happens when their environmental knowledge becomes operational and they increase environmental independence. We also discuss the importance to introduce WalCT in the clinical assessment.
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Despite the involvement of cerebellar ataxia in a large variety of conditions and its frequent association with other neurological symptoms, the quantification of the specific core of the cerebellar syndrome is possible and useful in Neurology. Recent studies have shown that cerebellar ataxia might be sensitive to various types of pharmacological agents, but the scales used for assessment were all different. With the long-term goal of double-blind controlled trials —multicentric and international — an ad hoc Committee of the World Federation of Neurology has worked to propose a one-hundred-point semi-quantitative International Cooperative Ataxia Rating Scale (ICARS). The scale proposed involves a compartimentalized quantification of postural and stance disorders, limb ataxia, dysarthria and oculomotor disorders, in order that a subscore concerning these symptoms may be separately studied. The weight of each symptomatologic compartment has been carefully designed. The members of the Committee agreed upon precise definitions of the tests, to minimize interobserver variations. The validation of this scale is in progress. © 1997 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
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Introduction: Mental rotation ability has an important role in human navigation and, together with other cognitive abilities such as processing speed, working memory, and attention, is crucial for aircraft navigation. In the human performance literature, mental rotation tasks have consistently yielded reports of gender differences favoring men. The aim of this study was to compare the gender difference measured in a specialized population of aviators vs. a matched population of nonpilots. Methods: : Studied were 41 pilots (20 men and 21 women) and 38 nonpilots (20 men and 18 women) matched for age and education. Pilots were stratified for flying hours. Participants performed a mental rotation task (MRT) in which accuracy and response time were recorded, and also completed sense-of-direction (SOD) and spatial cognitive styles self-evaluation scales. Results: Men had significantly smaller response time in the MRT (men 279.6 +/- 147.0 s, women 401.6 +/- 361.3) and greater SOD (men's score 49.1 +/- 8.6, women's score 46.6 +/- 7.8), but these differences were absent among pilots. A positive relationship was also identified between pilots' response times and their flight hours. Conclusion: These data suggest that the effect of gender on the speed of cognitive spatial processing is absent in a population with aviation experience. Gender effects may be associated with a low spatial cognitive style, whereas in groups such as aviators, who are expected to have high spatial cognitive style, other factors such as experience may come into play.
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This chapter provides a broad overview of some current theoretical arguments regarding working memory, focusing particularly on visuospatial cognition. It also illustrates how a multiple-component working memory model is particularly fruitful in the study of visual short-term memory function as well as in a range of mental visual imagery tasks performed by healthy adults and by brain damaged individuals with impairments of visuospatial cognition. Working memory is more complex than verbal short-term memory but helps cognitive psychologists to understand important aspects of everyday cognition as well as account for a range of phenomena observed in the laboratory. Working memory refers to the means by which human beings maintain, manipulate, and reinterpret, on a moment to moment basis, information that is required for successful performance of a range of everyday tasks from mental arithmetic. This memory appears to play important roles in acquiring new knowledge and in some aspects of retrieving previously acquired knowledge. It deals with the manipulation and the temporary storage of information and handles memory for appearance, object location, and movement sequences, as well as words, letters, and numbers. This mental workspace comprises elements responsible for temporary storage as well as for manipulation, allowing for memory functions but also allowing for the process of mental discovery and the generation of new knowledge from old.
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A group of sixty-six adult subjects was given the task of producing as many words as possible beginning with specified letters of the alphabet. The number of words produced during a period of 60 sec correlated highly both with a frequency count derived from the Thorndike-Lorge norms and with estimates derived from the dictionary of the number of words in the English language beginning with each letter. In a second experiment, eight letters representing three levels of difficulty as found in normal subjects were given to thirty brain-damaged and thirty hospitalized control patients. Results in terms of verbal productivity indicated that, for patients of high intelligence, difficult letters (i.e. J and U) showed the greatest discrimination. On the other hand, for patients of low intelligence, easy letters (i.e. F, S, P and T) were more effective in differentiating the brain-damage and control groups. The findings also indicated that difficult letters may be particularly effective in distinguishing between patients with right and left hemisphere damage. An analysis of order of presentation indicated that practice and fatigue effects were not related to verbal fluency when as many as eight letters were administered. It is suggested that the addition of difficult letters to standard word fluency tests may yield more precise discriminations between brain-damaged and control patients when overall level of intellectual functioning is taken into account.
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Clinical, experimental and neuroimaging studies indicate that the cerebellum is involved in neural processes beyond the motor domain. Cerebellar somatotopy has been shown for motor control, but topographic organization of higher-order functions has not yet been established. To determine whether existing literature supports the hypothesis of functional topography in the human cerebellum, we conducted an activation likelihood estimate (ALE) meta-analysis of neuroimaging studies reporting cerebellar activation in selected task categories: motor (n = 7 studies), somatosensory (n = 2), language (n = 11), verbal working memory (n = 8), spatial (n = 8), executive function (n = 8) and emotional processing (n = 9). In agreement with previous investigations, sensorimotor tasks activated anterior lobe (lobule V) and adjacent lobule VI, with additional foci in lobule VIII. Motor activation was in VIIIA/B; somatosensory activation was confined to VIIIB. The posterior lobe was involved in higher-level tasks. ALE peaks were identified in lobule VI and Crus I for language and verbal working memory; lobule VI for spatial tasks; lobules VI, Crus I and VIIB for executive functions; and lobules VI, Crus I and medial VII for emotional processing. Language was heavily right-lateralized and spatial peaks left-lateralized, reflecting crossed cerebro-cerebellar projections. Language and executive tasks activated regions of Crus I and lobule VII proposed to be involved in prefrontal-cerebellar loops. Emotional processing involved vermal lobule VII, implicated in cerebellar-limbic circuitry. These data provide support for an anterior sensorimotor vs. posterior cognitive/emotional dichotomy in the human cerebellum. Prospective studies of multiple domains within single individuals are necessary to better elucidate neurobehavioral structure–function correlations in the cerebellar posterior lobe.
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The cerebellum is thought to be engaged not only in motor control, but also in the neural network dedicated to visual processing of body motion. However, the pattern of connectivity within this network, in particular, between the cortical circuitry for observation of others' actions and the cerebellum remains largely unknown. By combining functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) with functional connectivity analysis and dynamic causal modelling (DCM), we assessed cerebro-cerebellar connectivity during a visual perceptual task with point-light displays depicting human locomotion. In the left lateral cerebellum, regions in the lobules Crus I and VIIB exhibited increased fMRI response to biological motion. The outcome of the connectivity analyses delivered the first evidence for reciprocal communication between the left lateral cerebellum and the right posterior superior temporal sulcus (STS). Through communication with the right posterior STS that is a key node not only for biological motion perception but also for social interaction and visual tasks on theory of mind, the left cerebellum might be involved in a wide range of social cognitive functions.
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Patients with cerebellar damage often present with the cerebellar motor syndrome of dysmetria, dysarthria and ataxia, yet cerebellar lesions can also result in the cerebellar cognitive affective syndrome (CCAS), including executive, visual spatial, and linguistic impairments, and affective dysregulation. We have hypothesized that there is topographic organization in the human cerebellum such that the anterior lobe and lobule VIII contain the representation of the sensorimotor cerebellum; lobules VI and VII of the posterior lobe comprise the cognitive cerebellum; and the posterior vermis is the anatomical substrate of the limbic cerebellum. Here we analyze anatomical, functional neuroimaging, and clinical data to test this hypothesis. We find converging lines of evidence supporting regional organization of motor, cognitive, and limbic behaviors in the cerebellum. The cerebellar motor syndrome results when lesions involve the anterior lobe and parts of lobule VI, interrupting cerebellar communication with cerebral and spinal motor systems. Cognitive impairments occur when posterior lobe lesions affect lobules VI and VII (including Crus I, Crus II, and lobule VIIB), disrupting cerebellar modulation of cognitive loops with cerebral association cortices. Neuropsychiatric disorders manifest when vermis lesions deprive cerebro-cerebellar-limbic loops of cerebellar input. We consider this functional topography to be a consequence of the differential arrangement of connections of the cerebellum with the spinal cord, brainstem, and cerebral hemispheres, reflecting cerebellar incorporation into the distributed neural circuits subserving movement, cognition, and emotion. These observations provide testable hypotheses for future investigations.
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We present the case of F.G., a healthy, normally developed 22-year-old male subject affected by a pervasive disorder in environmental orientation and navigation who presents no history of neurological or psychiatric disease. A neuro-radiological examination showed no evidence of anatomical or structural alterations to the brain. We submitted the subject for a comprehensive neuropsychological assessment of the different cognitive processes involved in topographical orientation to evaluate his ability to navigate the spatial environment. The results confirmed a severe developmental topographical disorder and deficits in a number of specific cognitive processes directly or indirectly involved in navigation. The results are discussed with reference to the sole previously described case of developmental topographical disorientation (Pt1; Iaria et al., 2009). F.G. differs from the former case due to the following: the greater severity of his disorder, his complete lack of navigational skills, the failure to develop compensatory strategies, and the presence of a specific deficit in processing the spatial relationships between the parts of a whole. The present case not only confirms the existence of developmental topographical-skill disorders, but also sheds light on the architecture of topographical processes and their development in human beings.
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Short title on half-title page: Memory and the medial temporal region of the brain. Thesis (Ph. D.)--McGill University, 1972. Includes bibliographical references (leaves 69-78). Microfilm of typescript.
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Anatomical, experimental, functional neuroimaging, and clinical data implicate the importance of corticocerebellar interactions in many nonmotor domains, such as sensory, cognitive, emotional, and affective processing. The modular organization and multifarious domains of activity suggest that cerebellar functional specificity has to be searched in a processing modality that is applicable to various contexts. One theory, among many, proposes that "sequence in" of sensory information is critical to understand cerebellar functioning. Here, we aimed at reinterpreting previous findings according to the cerebellar "sequence detection" theory. Spatial function, language, verbal memory, and sequence processing all are domains that are reported impaired after cerebellar damage. Reviewing data that have focused on sequential information processing highlighted the importance of the cerebellum in detecting patterns of incoming stimuli or in central circuit activities. Cerebellar sequence processing should be considered within the known organization of cerebellocortical connections. Within this framework, depending on the involved loop, cerebellar damage can provoke different functional impairments such as defective processing of sensorial stimuli sequences; defective sequential detection error-based learning; defective comparison between incoming sensory patterns and internal modules, and so on.
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At least two main cognitive strategies can be used to solve a complex navigation task: the allocentric or map-based strategy and the sequential egocentric or route-based strategy. The sequential egocentric strategy differs from a succession of independent simple egocentric responses as it requires a sequential ordering of events, possibly sharing functional similarity with episodic memory in this regard. To question the possible simultaneous encoding of sequential egocentric and allocentric strategies, we developed a paradigm in which these two strategies are spontaneously used or imposed. Our results evidenced that sequential egocentric strategy can be spontaneously acquired at the onset of the training as well as allocentric strategy. Allocentric and sequential egocentric strategies could be used together within a trial, and bidirectional shifts (between trials) were spontaneously performed during the training period by 30% of the participants. Regardless of the strategy used spontaneously during the training, all participants could execute immediate shifts to the opposite non previously used strategy when this strategy was imposed. Altogether, our findings suggest that subjects acquire different types of spatial knowledge in parallel, namely knowledge permitting allocentric navigation as well as knowledge permitting sequential egocentric navigation.
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Feed forward control and estimates of the future state of the motor system are critical for fast and coordinated movements. One framework for generating these predictive signals is based on the central nervous system implementing internal models. Internal models provide for representations of the input-output properties of the motor apparatus or their inverses. It has been widely hypothesized that the cerebellum acquires and stores internal models of the motor apparatus. The results of psychophysical, functional imaging and transcranial magnetic stimulation studies in normal subjects support this hypothesis. Also, the deficits in patients with cerebellar dysfunction can be attributed to a failure of predictive feed forward control and/or to accurately estimate the consequences of motor commands. Furthermore, the computation performed by the cerebellar-like electrosensory lobes in several groups of fishes is to predict the sensory consequences of motor commands. However, only a few electrophysiological investigations have directly tested whether neurons in the cerebellar cortex have the requisite signals compatible with either an inverse or forward internal model. Our studies in the monkey performing manual pursuit tracking demonstrate that the simple spike discharge of Purkinje cells does not have the dynamics-related signals required to be the output of an inverse dynamics model. However, Purkinje cell firing has several of the characteristics of a forward internal model of the arm. A synthesis of the evidence suggests that the cerebellum is involved in integrating the current state of the motor system with internally generated motor commands to predict the future state.
Article
Cerebellar pathology is associated with impairments on a range of motor learning tasks including sequence learning. However, various lines of evidence are at odds with the idea that the cerebellum plays a central role in the associative processes underlying sequence learning. Behavioral studies indicate that sequence learning, at least with short periods of practice, involves the establishment of effector-independent, abstract spatial associations, a form of representation not associated with cerebellar function. Moreover, neuroimaging studies have failed to identify learning-related changes within the cerebellum. We hypothesize that the cerebellar contribution to sequence learning may be indirect, related to the maintenance of stimulus-response associations in working memory, rather than through processes directly involved in the formation of sequential predictions. Consistent with this hypothesis, individuals with cerebellar pathology were impaired in learning movement sequences when the task involved a demanding stimulus-response translation. When this translation process was eliminated by having the stimuli directly indicate the response location, the cerebellar ataxia group demonstrated normal sequence learning. This dissociation provides an important constraint on the functional domain of the cerebellum in motor learning.
Article
Based on a review of cerebellar anatomy, neural discharge in relation to behavior, and focal ablation syndromes, we propose a model of cerebellar function that we believe is both comprehensive as to the available information (at these levels) and unique in several respects. The unique features are the inclusion of new information on (a) cerebellar output--its replicative representation of body maps in each of the deep nuclei, each coding a different type and context of movement, and each appearing to control movement of multiple body parts more than of single body parts; and (b) the newly assessed long length of the parallel fiber. The parallel fiber, by virtue of its connection through Purkinje cells to the deep nuclei, appears optimally designed to combine the actions at several joints and to link the modes of adjacent nuclei into more complex coordinated acts. We review the old question of whether the cerebellum is responsible for the coordination of body parts as opposed to the tuning of downstream executive centers, and conclude that it is both, through mechanisms that have been described in the cerebellar cortex. We argue that such a mechanism would require an adaptive capacity, and support the evidence and interpretation that it has one. We point out that many parts of the motor system may be involved in different types of motor learning for different purposes, and that the presence of the many does not exclude an existence of the one in the cerebellar cortex. The adaptive role of the cerebellar cortex would appear to be specialized for combining simpler elements of movement into more complex synergies, and also in enabling simple, stereotyped reflex apparatus to respond differently, specifically, and appropriately under different task conditions. Speed of learning and magnitude of memory for both novel synergies and task-specific performance modifications are other attributes of the cerebellar cortex.
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Two simple methods that are clinically useful for analyzing impaired memory and learning are selective reminding, and restricted reminding. These new methods provide simultaneous analysis of storage, retention, and retrieval during verbal learning, because they let the patient show learning by spontaneous retrieval without confounding by continual presentation. Because selective reminding and restricted reminding let the patient show consistent retrieval without any further presentation, they also distinguish list learning from item learning, so that impaired memory and learning can be analyzed further in terms of two stages of learning (item and list).
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Lurcher mutant mice, characterized by degeneration of cerebellar granule and Purkinje cells, were compared to normal littermate controls in a rotorod test, consisting of a wheel turning at constant speed which required on the part of the animal postural adjustments in order to maintain equilibrium. Identical baseline rates for the two groups were assured by changing the speed and size of the rotating rod. Although both groups were able to learn the task, the fall latencies of normal mice exceeded those of lurchers. These results indicate that cerebellar cortical atrophy does not abolish this form of sensorimotor learning. However, brain-damaged animals are unable to reach the same level of performance as normal animals. In contrast to the results in lurcher mutants, no sensorimotor learning was displayed by hot-foot mutants and staggerer mutants.
Article
We compared procedural learning, translation of procedural knowledge into declarative knowledge, and use of declarative knowledge in age-matched normal volunteers (n = 30), patients with Parkinson's disease (n = 20), and patients with cerebellar degeneration (n = 15) by using a serial reaction time task. Patients with Parkinson's disease achieved procedural knowledge and used declarative knowledge of the task to improve performance, but they required a larger number of repetitions of the task to translate procedural knowledge into declarative knowledge. Patients with cerebellar degeneration did not show performance improvement due to procedural learning, failed to achieve declarative knowledge, and showed limited use of declarative knowledge of the task to improve their performance. Both basal ganglia and cerebellum are involved in procedural learning, but their roles are different. The normal influence of the basal ganglia on the prefrontal cortex may be required for timely access of information to and from the working memory buffer, while the cerebellum may index and order events in the time domain and be therefore essential for any cognitive functions involving sequences.
Article
Recently, a cognitive function of cerebellar networks has been challenging the traditional view of the cerebellum as a motor control centre. Among the cognitive abilities reported to be affected by cerebellar deficits is the capacity to solve a spatial problem. We investigated the influence of a cerebellar lesion on spatial abilities by behavioural analysis of rats that had undergone surgical hemicerebellectomy (HCb; HCbed rats). Experiments were performed with a Morris water maze (MWM) and a water T-maze in both cue and place versions (visible or hidden platform respectively). Results indicate a severe impairment in coping with spatial information in all phases of MWM testing as well as in the T-maze paradigm. However, if the MWM cue phase was prolonged, HCbed rats displayed some ability to learn platform position, although at a level significantly different from controls. They succeeded in finding the platform, even in a pure place paradigm, such as finding a hidden platform with the starting points sequentially changed. Retention testing was also performed, demonstrating that HCb affects acquisition but not retention of spatial information. HCbed animals exhibit such disrupted exploration behaviour that they can display only peripheral circling, and they can acquire spatial relations only when proximal cues are available. Furthermore, in all phases of testing, platform finding for HCbed animals is essentially based on place strategies. Thus, a specific pattern of spatial behaviour, markedly different from that displayed following hippocampal or cortical lesions, characterizes cerebellar lesioned rats. These results are discussed taking into account the role in procedural learning recently assigned to cerebellar networks, demonstrating that the cerebellar circuits represent the keystone of the procedural components of spatial event processing.