Cerebellar function during development. Eyeblink conditioning, prism adaptation and interval production in children and adults.

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (compilation)

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The focus of this thesis is on cerebellar-dependent sensorimotor tasks during development. The performance in classical delay eyeblink conditioning, prism adaptation, and isochronous serial interval production (finger tapping) was explored in typically developing school-aged children, young adolescents, and adults. These three tasks share that the cerebellum plays a critical role when it comes to learning and precision of the motor responses involved. The purpose of the project was to investigate the behavioral relationships between eyeblink conditioning, prism adaptation, and finger tapping. In addition, the performance of eyeblink conditioning was further explored. Included in the analyses were 103 children between 6 and 14 years of age. Comparisons with 45 adults, between 18 and 55 years of age, were made.
The performance on all tasks improved with age during childhood, and there were only weak and unclear associations between the tasks. Further, the duration of the interstimulus interval had effect on the learning during eyeblink conditioning, and there were sex differences in the performance among both children and adults. The findings suggest that there might be different underlying neural mechanisms involved during the three tasks, and that other factors, including cognitive, contribute to the performance. Eyeblink conditioning, prism adaptation, and finger tapping do not seem to reflect one homogeneous cerebellar function and can therefore not replace each other. Together these three tasks may contribute to a more complete picture of cerebellar function, and by extension, cerebellar dysfunction. The project highlights the importance of continuing to explore test parameters and maturational effects on cerebellar-dependent tasks during development. In the future, more knowledge about this and the underlying mechanisms may allow for refined methods investigating cerebellar dysfunction in neurodevelopmental disorders.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Department of Clinical Sciences, Lund
  • Rasmussen, Anders, Supervisor
  • Sahlén, Birgitta, Assistant supervisor
  • Hesslow, Germund, Assistant supervisor
  • Löfqvist, Anders, Assistant supervisor
Award date2020 Jan 29
Place of PublicationLund
ISBN (Print)978-91-7619-867-4
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Defence details
Date: 2020-01-29
Time: 13:15
Place: Segerfalksalen, BMC A10, Sölvegatan 17 i Lund
External reviewer(s)
Name: Timmann, Dagmar
Title: professor
Affiliation: University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Neurosciences

Free keywords

  • Cerebellum
  • Eyeblink conditioning
  • Prism adaptation
  • Finger tapping
  • Development
  • Children
  • Adults
  • Cerebellar function
  • Neurodevelopmental disorders
  • Cognitive disorders


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