Behavioral & Cognitive Neuroscience Seminar : Stable brains in dynamic worlds: a key role of cortico-cerebellar loops

The brain must maintain a stable internal model while rapidly adapting to the environment, yet the underlying mechanisms are not known. Here, we posit that cortico-cerebellar loops play a key role in this process. We introduce a computational model of cerebellar networks which learn to drive cortical networks with task-outcome predictions. First, using sensorimotor tasks we show that cerebellar feedback in the presence of stable cortical networks is sufficient for rapid task acquisition and switching. Next, we demonstrate that, when trained in working memory tasks, the cerebellum can also underlie the maintenance of cognitive-specific dynamics in the cortex, explaining a range of optogenetic and behavioural observations. Finally, using our model we introduce a systems consolidation theory in which task information is gradually transferred from the cerebellum to the cortex. In summary, our findings suggest that cortico-cerebellar loops are an important component of task acquisition, switching, and consolidation in the brain.