Relationships between regional cerebellar volume and sensorimotor and cognitive function in young and older adults. Academic Article uri icon


  • The cerebellum has been implicated in both sensorimotor and cognitive function, but is known to undergo volumetric declines with advanced age. Individual differences in regional cerebellar volume may therefore provide insight into performance variability across the lifespan, as has been shown with other brain structures and behaviors. Here, we investigated whether there are regional age differences in cerebellar volume in young and older adults, and whether these volumes explain, in part, individual differences in sensorimotor and cognitive task performance. We found that older adults had smaller cerebellar volume than young adults; specifically, lobules in the anterior cerebellum were more impacted by age. Multiple regression analyses for both age groups revealed associations between sensorimotor task performance in several domains (balance, choice reaction time, and timing) and regional cerebellar volume. There were also relationships with working memory, but none with measures of general cognitive or executive function. Follow-up analyses revealed several differential relationships with age between regional volume and sensorimotor performance. These relationships were predominantly selective to cerebellar regions that have been implicated in cognitive functions. Therefore, it may be the cognitive aspects of sensorimotor task performance that are best explained by individual differences in regional cerebellar volumes. In sum, our results demonstrate the importance of regional cerebellar volume with respect to both sensorimotor and cognitive performance, and we provide additional insight into the role of the cerebellum in age-related performance declines.

published proceedings

  • Cerebellum

altmetric score

  • 0.75

author list (cited authors)

  • Bernard, J. A., & Seidler, R. D.

citation count

  • 105

complete list of authors

  • Bernard, Jessica A||Seidler, Rachael D

publication date

  • January 2013