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Curr Opin Behav Sci. 2016 Apr;8:53-59.

Mechanisms for motor timing in the cerebellar cortex.

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Associative learning group, Department of Experimental Medical Science, Lund University, Lund, 22184, Sweden. ; The Linnaeus Center Thinking in Time: Cognition, Communication & Learning, Lund University, 22184 Lund, Sweden.
Department of Neuroscience, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas, USA.


In classical eyeblink conditioning a subject learns to blink to a previously neutral stimulus. This conditional response is timed to occur just before an air puff to the eye. The learning is known to depend on the cerebellar cortex where Purkinje cells respond with adaptively timed pauses in their spontaneous firing. The pauses in the inhibitory Purkinje cells cause disinhibition of the cerebellar nuclei, which elicit the overt blinks. The timing of a Purkinje cell response was previously thought to require a temporal code in the input signal but recent work suggests that the Purkinje cells can learn to time their responses through an intrinsic mechanism that is activated by metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluR7).


Purkinje cells; Timing; cerebellum; eyeblink conditioning; learning

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