r/science Oct 06 '22

The cerebellum is mostly known for its role in muscle coordination, but a new whole-brain fMRI study shows it also supports the ability to remember emotionally arousing experiences Neuroscience

https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2204900119
2.4k Upvotes

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u/[deleted] Oct 06 '22

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u/[deleted] Oct 06 '22

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u/[deleted] Oct 06 '22

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u/DenverBVB Oct 07 '22

What’s an example of an “emotionally arousing experience?”

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u/PoisonMikey Oct 07 '22

At least based on the meta analyses they reference: scenes, words, objects that elicit positive, neutral, and/or negative responses.

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u/DenverBVB Oct 07 '22

That almost encompasses anything that make me feel, anxious, happy, sad, mad basically anything that illicit a response?

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u/PoisonMikey Oct 07 '22

Well emotional arousal is exactly that, attaching emotional valence to a thought pattern/memory, any emotion. Easier to encode and remember things you felt something about. The study seems to suggest the cerebellum plays a role in that conjoining and focuses more on the radiographic analysis and pathway tracing. Since memories are pretty global network to begin with (involving nearly all regions of the CNS) it's unsurprising such a powerhouse of a module like the cerebellum would contribute as well.

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u/MichiganBeerBruh Oct 07 '22

Brain go Boioioioioioing, hehehe uh huh huh uh uh, yeah Beavis

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u/Prolly-wrong Oct 07 '22

That time I walked into the laundry room and found my stepsister stuck in the dryer. That was pretty emotionally arousing for both of us.

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u/[deleted] Oct 07 '22 edited Oct 07 '22

So, then what happened?

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u/JohnnyVitro69 Oct 07 '22

His cerebellum got a kick

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u/KennDoid Oct 07 '22

They made up something else based on a joke that was never actually funny

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u/bawng Oct 07 '22

Eh, it's not the joke itself that's the funny part; it's the shared reference, it's the cultural propagation; it's the meme.

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u/ZeroUnits Oct 07 '22

your mum joke

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u/RRoyale57 Oct 07 '22

Seeing a fit chick with a nice butt jogging in revealing yoga pants on a fine morning

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u/ShaunBH Oct 08 '22

Mmmm. Donuts.

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u/Beyond-Karma Oct 07 '22

Does this infer that someone with greater muscular coordination would then also have a greater predisposition towards emotional memory?

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u/KennDoid Oct 07 '22

I'm not at all saying I have great muscle coordination but I have had a whole hemorrhagic stroke that required me to re-learn how to walk and talk. I swear I can only hang on to something if I was made to feel a certain way about it. This is my own anecdotal experience, I cannot speak to the whole of the study.

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u/VanGoFuckYourself Oct 07 '22

I was wondering about this. I'm both super uncoordinated as well as pretty dull emotionally. Wonder if there is a connection.

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u/bunnytrigger Oct 07 '22

Better get that cerebellum checked and find out.

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u/abandonliberty Oct 07 '22

I would suspect the opposite, as they'd be devoting more cerebellum to balance than emotions. But memory is a huge complicated beast, so this could be like changing the tires on your car to make it go faster. Sure it might matter a bit in some situations but many other factors are at play.

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u/[deleted] Oct 06 '22

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u/PonderingPachyderm Oct 07 '22

This is just for emotional memory? Why was a comparison not done against non-emotional memory (or did I just miss it in the methods)? It's well known memory is very contextual, movement- and location-based, so it should not be a surprise if emotional salient memory, or any complex enough memory task, activates the cerebellum right?

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u/footcandlez Oct 07 '22

Yes. It is described in the methods. The positive/negative images were recalled more than neutral images. In the intro they discuss how we know the cerebellum is involved in fear conditioning in animal models, but this type of declarative memory was less explored.

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u/bemeren Oct 07 '22

We’ve known about cerebellar affect syndrome for a while too!

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u/night-owl-zzzz Oct 07 '22

Any more info on this?

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u/knockoutmausi Oct 07 '22

Look up Cerebellar cognitive affective syndrome (CCAS; Schmahmann's syndrome)

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u/[deleted] Oct 06 '22

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u/Memphis_Fire Oct 07 '22

Is that why dancing is sexy?

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u/JAT621 Oct 07 '22

By that logic, hard physical labor should be sexy too.

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u/Memphis_Fire Oct 07 '22

I mean....it isn't?

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u/Dobanyor Oct 07 '22

Half my family had a hereditary condition called Maria's Ataxia. And based on the information given to me doctors in the past is one of the largest areas the disease affects is it shrinks the cerebellum. Which, in addition to the extreme lack of mobility, has coincidentally often lead to begging for assisted medical suicide after years of onset. It's not cureable, family that had it died from choking on their own mucus/pneumonia in hospitals after basically years or decades losing all mobility. It's horrific to watch.

But, based on my understanding, I wonder if this also then affects why, anecdotally, Maria's Ataxia sufferers are so desperate to end their suffering. If they don't grasp past joy the same way, all they know is the current state of pain and shame. Shame by being in your 40s and in a nursing home because you are less capable of taking care of your self than most elderly patients due to the disease they striped away your ability to walk, eat, dress or bathe yourself.

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u/Grjaryau Oct 07 '22

I’m currently being worked up for spinocerebellar ataxia (SCA3). I’m not a big emotional person. I honestly can’t remember the last time I cried. The last time I got pissed off about something was February.

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u/Dobanyor Oct 07 '22

That's fascinating. I know it's purely anecdotal for this affect based on both our experiences, but I wonder if this study has will have any affect on Ataxia research. It seems like it would be something helpful.

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u/dopadelic Oct 07 '22

It's known to play a role in implicit memory. This includes associating stimulus and response such as classical conditioning.

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u/TheOneAllFear Oct 07 '22

Technically, if it's role is to coordonate muscles and when you laugh, are anxious, express rage you are using your facial muscles(at least) so ...it should be involved, no?

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u/onwee Oct 07 '22

I haven’t read the article, but my first thought was actually about affect and approach/avoidance movements

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u/XRayVisionRT Oct 07 '22

Is that I get muscle pain and tension when I am super frustrated about work stress?

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u/wtjones Oct 07 '22

Is this the body keeping the score?

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u/Jetztinberlin Oct 07 '22

My question as well. If we're finally starting to see measurable, clinical support for the idea that emotions / memory are stored in the body, that would be huge.

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u/queenlakiefah Oct 07 '22

Anybody here know of any studies done on ERP (exposure and response prevention) therapy and the cerebellum, or any other brain region? A huge part of OCD and PTSD is the elevated emotional response to a particular thought, memory, or experience and ERP tries to establish new postitve or diminished emotional responses to that particular stimuli.

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u/Sehr_Gros_Baum Oct 07 '22

Any chance the study would be repeated with MR elastography?

It does have a way lower latency period for response assessment (millisecond range for MRE vs 20-25 seconds for fMRI)

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u/coralines_cat_ Oct 07 '22

Yes that's why it's so hard to work through trauma symptoms. Our memories are stored in different parts of the brain in different ways. That's why you'll be minding your own business and then you feel your body reacting to a memory but have no idea why.

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u/Basic-Mushroom8274 Oct 07 '22

(Cerebellum has been research hotspot in recent years. Headline is out of date by decade.)

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u/Blakut Oct 07 '22

So it stores those pornhub search terms?

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u/paulusmagintie Oct 07 '22

I mean technically the ppebis is a muscle so it would need to know when to work...