Brain, Biology and Behavior, Center for


Explicit and Implicit Emotion Processing in the Cerebellum: A Meta‑analysis and Systematic Review

Jordan E. Pierce, University of Nebraska- Lincoln
Marine Thomasson, University of Geneva, University Hospitals of Geneva
Philippe Voruz, University of Geneva, University Hospitals of Geneva
Garance Selosse, University of Geneva
Julie Péron, University of Geneva, University Hospitals of Geneva

Open access.


The cerebellum’s role in affective processing is increasingly recognized in the literature, but remains poorly understood, despite abundant clinical evidence for affective disruptions following cerebellar damage. To improve the characterization of emotion processing and investigate how attention allocation impacts this processing, we conducted a meta-analysis on task activation foci using GingerALE software. Eighty human neuroimaging studies of emotion including 2761 participants identified through Web of Science and ProQuest databases were analyzed collectively and then divided into two categories based on the focus of attention during the task: explicit or implicit emotion processing. The results examining the explicit emotion tasks identified clusters within the posterior cerebellar hemispheres (bilateral lobule VI/Crus I/II), the vermis, and left lobule V/VI that were likely to be activated across studies, while implicit tasks activated clusters including bilateral lobules VI/Crus I/II, right Crus II/lobule VIII, anterior lobule VI, and lobules I-IV/V. A direct comparison between these categories revealed five overlapping clusters in right lobules VI/Crus I/Crus II and left lobules V/VI/Crus I of the cerebellum common to both the explicit and implicit task contrasts. There were also three clusters activated significantly more for explicit emotion tasks compared to implicit tasks (right lobule VI, left lobule VI/vermis), and one cluster activated more for implicit than explicit tasks (left lobule VI). These findings support previous studies indicating affective processing activates both the lateral hemispheric lobules and the vermis of the cerebellum. The common and distinct activation of posterior cerebellar regions by tasks with explicit and implicit attention demonstrates the supportive role of this structure in recognizing, appraising, and reacting to emotional stimuli.