A new grant from Swiss National Foundation for the project entitled “Cerebellar contribution to human emotion: insights from stroke and neuroimaging” (Grant N°: 105314_182221 – 2019 – 2023)
While the cerebral cortex, which represents more than 80% of the brain’s mass, contains only 20% of its total number of neurons, the cerebellum holds more than 68 billion neurons (~70%). Paradoxically, human neuroscience research has largely neglected the cerebellum in favour of the cortex. As a consequence, extremely little is known about the precise role of the so called little brain in human behaviour, notably in nonmotor functions such as affective abilities.
The present project will provide evidence of the cerebellum’s role in human recognition of emotions. We will adopt a cross-disciplinary approach, combining affective neuropsychology with neurology and neuroimaging, and comparing patients with cerebellar stroke and healthy populations. As it has been suggested that the cerebellum would be the “internal clock” of the brain, we will also study how temporal dynamic information (or the rhythm) about perceived emotional stimuli affect patients’ abilities. We will also explore these processing using functional imagery in healthy participants in order to study the links between the cerebellum and the brain, during the recognition of emotions .
The present research project will open up exciting new avenues in both basic and applied research in psychology, neuropsychology, and neurology. In clinical terms, this project will help to raise awareness among health professionals involved in the care of stroke patients about the impact of cerebellar lesions on cognition and affective abilities. In basic research terms, the present project will help to shed new light on the cerebellum’s role in the network subtending emotion processing, especially emotion recognition. These anatomical and functional aspects have hitherto been unexplored in the field of affective science in humans.
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