The Human Body

Cerebellum

Cerebellum (“little brain”)—two smaller hemispheres located at the lower back of the brain beneath the occipital lobes, which coordinates body movements. It is divided into two lateral (side-by-side) lobes connected by a fingerlike bundle of white fibers called the vermis. The outer layer, or cortex, of the cerebellum consists of fine folds called folia. As in the cerebrum, the outer layer of cortical gray matter surrounds a deeper layer of white matter and nuclei (groups of nerve cells). Three fiber bundles called cerebellar peduncles connect the cerebellum to the three parts of the brain stem—the midbrain, the pons, and the medulla oblongata.

The cerebellum coordinates voluntary movements by fine-tuning commands from the motor cortex in the cerebrum. The cerebellum also maintains posture and balance by controlling muscle tone and sensing the position of the limbs. All motor activity, from hitting a baseball to fingering a violin, depends on the cerebellum.