Scientists Are Unlocking the Secrets of Your ‘Little Brain’

The original version of this story appeared in Quanta Magazine.

In recent decades, neuroscience has seen some stunning advances, and yet a critical part of the brain remains a mystery. I am referring to the cerebellum, so named for the Latin for “little brain,” which is situated like a bun at the back of the brain. This is no small oversight: The cerebellum contains three-quarters of all the brain’s neurons, which are organized in an almost crystalline arrangement, in contrast to the tangled thicket of neurons found elsewhere.

Encyclopedia articles and textbooks underscore the fact that the cerebellum’s function is to control body movement. There is no question that the cerebellum

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