Leading neuroscientist Dr. Masao Ito advances a detailed and fascinating view of what the cerebellum contributes to brain function. The cerebellum has been seen as primarily involved in coordination of body movement control, facilitating the learning of motor skills such as those involved in walking, riding a bicycle, or playing a piano. The cerebellum is now viewed as an assembly of numerous neuronal machine modules, each of which provides an implicit learning capability to various types of motor control. The cerebellum enables us to unconsciously learn motor skills through practice by forming internal models simulating control system properties of the body parts.
Based on these remarkable advances in our understanding of motor control mechanisms of the cerebellum, Ito presents a still larger view of the cerebellum as serving a higher level of brain functions beyond movements, including the implicit part of the thought and cognitive processes that manipulate knowledge. Ito extends his investigation of the cerebellum to discuss neural processes that may be involved implicitly in such complex mental actions as having an intuition, imagination, hallucination, or delusion.
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A New Assessment of the Cerebellum’s Role in Brain Function by One of the Field’s Most Respected Researchers
In The Cerebellum, leading neuroscientist Masao Ito draws on current research to advance a detailed new view of the cerebellum’s multiple roles in brain function.
The cerebellum’s role in coordinating body movement control and facilitating motor skills learning has long been recognized. Ito presents new insights into how it accomplishes these tasks. He explains how the cerebellum assembles numerous neuronal machine modules, each providing implicit learning capabilities—and how these modules enable humans to unconsciously learn motor skills through practice by forming internal models that simulate the control system properties of body parts.
Ito shows how the cerebellum also serves higher brain functions, including implicit components of thought and cognitive processes that manipulate knowledge. In particular, he discusses evidence of the cerebellum’s role in complex mental actions—such as intuition, imagination, hallucination, and delusion—and in supporting the implicit self.
Ito’s insights will be valuable to a wide audience of neuroscientific investigators and might also be applicable in artificial intelligence, control engineering, robotics, and related fields.About the Author:
Masao Ito is professor emeritus and former dean of the medical faculty at the University of Tokyo, and the founding director of the RIKEN Brain Science Institute. He has served as president of many international scientific organizations, including the International Brain Research Organization, the International Union of Physiological Sciences, the Human Frontier Science Program, the Science Council of Japan, and the Japan Neuroscience Society. Dr. Ito won the 1996 Japan Prize and the 2006 Gruber Prize in Neuroscience.
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