Lobular patterns of cerebellar activation in verbal working-memory and finger-tapping tasks as revealed by functional MRI

John E. Desmond, John D.E. Gabrieli, Anthony D. Wagner, Bruce L. Ginier, Gary H. Glover

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The lobular distributions of functional activation of the cerebellum during verbal working-memory and finger movement tasks were investigated using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Relative to a rest control, finger tapping of the right hand produced ipsilateral-increased activation in HIV/HV [Roman numeral designations based on Larsell's (Larsell and Jansen, 1972) nomenclature] and HVI and weaker activation in HVIII that was stronger on the ipsilateral side. For a working-memory task, subjects were asked to remember six (high load) or one (low load) visually presented letters across a brief delay. To assess the motoric aspects of rehearsal in the absence of working memory, we asked the subjects to repeatedly read subvocally six or one letters at a rate that approximated the internally generated rehearsal of working memory (motoric rehearsal task). For both tasks, bilateral regions of the superior cerebellar hemispheres (left superior HVIIA and right HVI) and portions of posterior vermis (VI and superior VIIA) exhibited increased activation during high relative to low load conditions. In contrast, the right inferior cerebellar hemisphere (HVIIB) exhibited this load effect only during the working-memory task. We hypothesize that HVI and superior HVIIA activation represents input from the articulatory control system of working memory from the frontal lobes and that HVIIB activation is derived from the phonological store in temporal and parietal regions. From these inputs, the cerebellum could compute the discrepancy between actual and intended phonological rehearsal and use this information to update a feedforward command to the frontal lobes, thereby facilitating the phonological loop.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9675-9685
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number24
StatePublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Brain mapping
  • Cerebellum
  • Cognition
  • Finger tapping
  • Functional magnetic resonance imaging
  • Verbal working memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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