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MSc Thesis #94138

Title:Theories of Memory in the Cerebellar Cortex
Date: 1994
Abstract:The cerebellum, thought to be involved in the learning of motor control, is often cited as the part of the brain about which we know the most. Several theories of cerebellar function have been proposed. Two theories of memory in the cerebellar cortex are investigated in this thesis. The first theory was developed by Peter Gilbert in 1974 and makes use of associate memory as the learning paradigm. Gilbert suggested how groups of the cerebellar output neurons, the Purkinje cells, could learn to associate certain parallel fibre input patterns with particular output frequencies which are proportional to the climbing fibre input during learning. The second theory is a combination of Gilbert's original ideas and two modifications that were proposed by him in 1975 and 1994. The learning paradigm used is error correction. This dissertation suggests a new role for the locus coeruleus input to the Purkinje cells, enabling the cerebellum to learn target frequency sequences without any additional instructions from the cerebral cortex. Both theories are implemented and tested. Both theories are shown to work; however, some experimental results need further investigations. A biochemical mechanism for the postulated role of the locus coeruleus is proposed. Inconsistencies of the theories with neurobiological knowledge are discussed, and possible corresponding modifications are suggested.

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