Disruption of state estimation in the human lateral cerebellum

Rowland Miall, LOD Christensen, O Cain, James Stanley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

182 Citations (Scopus)
158 Downloads (Pure)


The cerebellum has been proposed to be a crucial component in the state estimation process that combines information from motor efferent and sensory afferent signals to produce a representation of the current state of the motor system. Such a state estimate of the moving human arm would be expected to be used when the arm is rapidly and skillfully reaching to a target. We now report the effects of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) over the ipsilateral cerebellum as healthy humans were made to interrupt a slow voluntary movement to rapidly reach towards a visually defined target. Errors in the initial direction and in the final finger position of this reach-to-target movement were significantly higher for cerebellar stimulation than they were in control conditions. The average directional errors in the cerebellar TMS condition were consistent with the reaching movements being planned and initiated from an estimated hand position that was 138 ms out of date. We suggest that these results demonstrate that the cerebellum is responsible for estimating the hand position over this time interval and that TMS disrupts this state estimate.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)in press
JournalPLoS Biology
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2007


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