Shaky scaffolding: Age differences in cerebellar activation revealed through activation likelihood estimation meta-analysis. Academic Article uri icon


  • Cognitive neuroscience research has provided foundational insights into aging, but has focused primarily on the cerebral cortex. However, the cerebellum is subject to the effects of aging. Given the importance of this structure in the performance of motor and cognitive tasks, cerebellar differences stand to provide critical insights into age differences in behavior. However, our understanding of cerebellar functional activation in aging is limited. Thus, we completed a meta-analysis of neuroimaging studies across task domains. Unlike in the cortex where an increase in bilateral activation is seen during cognitive task performance with advanced age, there is less overlap in cerebellar activation across tasks in older adults (OAs) relative to young. Conversely, we see an increase in activation overlap in OAs during motor tasks. We propose that this is due to inputs for comparator processing in the context of control theory (cortical and spinal) that may be differentially impacted in aging. These findings advance our understanding of the aging mind and brain.

published proceedings

  • Hum Brain Mapp

altmetric score

  • 5.65

author list (cited authors)

  • Bernard, J. A., Nguyen, A. D., Hausman, H. K., Maldonado, T., Ballard, H. K., Jackson, T. B., ... Goen, J.

citation count

  • 13

complete list of authors

  • Bernard, Jessica A||Nguyen, An D||Hausman, Hanna K||Maldonado, Ted||Ballard, Hannah K||Jackson, T Bryan||Eakin, Sydney M||Lokshina, Yana||Goen, James RM

publication date

  • December 2020