Cerebellar contributions to verbal working memory: Beyond cognitive theory

Gal Ben-Yehudah, Sara Guediche, Julie A. Fiez

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Neuropsychological findings together with recent advances in neuroanatomical and neuroimaging techniques have spurred the investigation of cerebellar contributions to cognition. One cognitive process that has been the focus of much research is working memory, in particular its verbal component. Influenced by Baddeley's cognitive theory of working memory, cerebellar activation during verbal working memory tasks has been predominantly attributed to the cerebellum's involvement in an articulatory rehearsal network. Recent neuroimaging and neuropsychological findings are inconsistent with a simple motor view of the cerebellum's function in verbal working memory. The present article examines these findings and their implications for an articulatory rehearsal proposal of cerebellar function. Moving beyond cognitive theory, we propose two alternative explanations for cerebellar involvement in verbal working memory: Error-driven adjustment and internal timing. These general theories of cerebellar function have been successfully adapted from the motor literature to explain cognitive functions of the cerebellum. We argue that these theories may also provide a useful framework to understand the non-motor contributions of the cerebellum to verbal working memory.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)193-201
Number of pages9
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Cerebellum
  • Error correction
  • Rehearsal
  • Timing
  • Working memory


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