Detection of Threshold-Level Stimuli Modulated by Temporal Predictions of the Cerebellum

Lau M. Andersen*, Sarang S. Dalal

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review


The cerebellum has the reputation of being a primitive part of the brain that mostly is involved in motor coordination and motor control. Older lesion studies and more recent electrophysiological studies have, however, indicated that it is involved in temporal perception and temporal expectation building. An outstanding question is whether this temporal expectation building cerebellar activity has functional relevance. In this study, we collected magnetoencephalographic data from 30 healthy participants performing a detection task on at-threshold stimulation that was presented at the end of a sequence of temporally regular or irregular above-threshold stimulation. We found that behavioral detection rates depended on the degree of irregularity in the sequence preceding it. We also found cerebellar responses evoked by above-threshold and at-threshold stimulation. The evoked responses to at-threshold stimulation differed significantly, depending on whether it was preceded by a regular or an irregular sequence. Finally, we found that detection performance across participants correlated significantly with the differences in cerebellar evoked responses to the at-threshold stimulation, demonstrating the functional relevance of cerebellar activity in sensory expectation building. We furthermore found evidence of thalamic involvement, as indicated by responses in the beta band (14–30 Hz) and by significant modulations of cerebello-thalamic connectivity by the regularity of the sequence and the kind of stimulation terminating the sequence. These results provide evidence that the temporal expectation building mechanism of the cerebellum, what we and others have called an internal clock, shows functional relevance by regulating behavior and performance in sensory action that requires acting and integrating evidence over precise timescales.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2024


  • action
  • cerebellum
  • expectation
  • magnetoencephalography
  • prediction
  • thalamus
  • Cerebellum/physiology
  • Magnetoencephalography
  • Thalamus/physiology
  • Humans
  • Time Perception/physiology
  • Male
  • Young Adult
  • Sensory Thresholds/physiology
  • Neural Pathways/physiology
  • Female
  • Adult


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