Cerebellar substrates for error correction in motor conditioning

Mark A. Gluck, M. Todd Allen, Catherine E. Myers, Richard F. Thompson

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39 Scopus citations


The authors evaluate a mapping of Rescorla and Wagner's (1972) behavioral model of classical conditioning onto the cerebellar substrates for motor reflex learning and illustrate how the limitations of the Rescorla-Wagner model are just as useful as its sucesses for guiding the development of new psychobiological theories of learning. They postulate that the inhibitory pathway that returns conditioned response information from the cerebellar interpositus nucleus back to the inferior olive is the neural basis for the error correction learning proposed by Rescorla and Wagner (Gluck, Myers, & Thompson, 1994; Thompson, 1986). The authors' cerebellar model expects that behavioral processes described by the Rescorla-Wagner model will be localized within the cerebellum and related brain stem structures, whereas behavioral processes beyond the scope of the Rescorla-Wagner model will depend on extracerebellar structures such as the hippocampus and related cortical regions. Simulations presented here support both implications. Several novel implications of the authors' cerebellar error-correcting model are described including a recent empirical study by Kim, Krupa, and Thompson (1998), who verified that suppressing the putative error correction pathway should interfere with the Kamin (1969) blocking effect, a behavioral manifestation of error correction learning. The authors also discuss the model's implications for understanding the limits of cerebellar contributions to associative learning and how this informs our understanding of hippocampal function in conditioning. This leads to a more integrative view of the neural substrates of conditioning in which the authors' real-time circuit-level model of the cerebellum can be viewed as a generalization of the long-term memory module of Gluck and Myers' (1993) trial-level theory of cerebellar-hippocampal interaction in motor conditioning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)314-341
Number of pages28
JournalNeurobiology of Learning and Memory
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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