Was the Cerebellum the Center of Evolutionary Change That Makes Us Human?

When we search for the seat of humanity, are we looking at the wrong part of the brain? Most neuroscientists assume that the neocortex, the brain’s distinctive folded outer layer, is the thing that makes us uniquely human. But a new study suggests that another part of the brain, the cerebellum, grew much faster in our ape ancestors.

Read more on this new research in Current Biology.

 

Recommended Readings: Steve Lisberger, Ph.D.

Friday Lecture Series

What Happens in the Cerebellum while You Learn a Motor Skill

Steve Lisberger, Ph.D., George Barth Geller Professor and chair, department of neurobiology, Duke University School of Medicine;

investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute

January 24, 2014

3:45 p.m.-5:00 p.m. (Refreshments, 3:15 p.m., Abby Lounge)

Caspary Auditorium

Recommended Readings

Li, J. X., & Lisberger, S. G. (2011). Learned timing of motor behavior in the smooth eye movement region of the frontal eye fields. Neuron, 69(1), 159-169

Li, J. X., Medina, J. F., Frank, L. M., & Lisberger, S. G. (2011). Acquisition of neural learning in cerebellum and cerebral cortex for smooth pursuit eye movements. Journal of Neuroscience, 31(36), 12716-12726

Medina, J. F., & Lisberger, S. G. (2009). Encoding and decoding of learned smooth-pursuit eye movements in the floccular complex of the monkey cerebellum. Journal of Neurophysiology, 102(4), 2039-2054

Medina, J. F., & Lisberger, S. G. (2008). Links from complex spikes to local plasticity and motor learning in the cerebellum of awake-behaving monkeys. Nature Neuroscience, 11(10), 1185-1192

Niu, Y. -., & Lisberger, S. G. (2011). Sensory versus motor loci for integration of multiple motion signals in smooth pursuit eye movements and human motion perception. Journal of Neurophysiology, 106(2), 741-753