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Cerebellar vs. Cerebral — What's the Difference?

By Urooj Arif & Maham Liaqat — Updated on April 7, 2024
Cerebellar pertains to the cerebellum, involved in coordination, while cerebral relates to the cerebrum, responsible for cognitive functions.
Cerebellar vs. Cerebral — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Cerebellar and Cerebral


Key Differences

Cerebellar refers to anything related to the cerebellum, a section of the brain at the back of the skull. Its primary role is to coordinate voluntary movements, maintain posture, balance, and speech. In contrast, cerebral pertains to the cerebrum, the largest part of the brain, encompassing functions related to thought processes, including reasoning, memory, speech, and muscle functions.
While the cerebellar function is crucial for motor control and coordination, ensuring smooth and balanced muscular activity, cerebral activities are centered around processing sensory information, and executing higher-level functions such as emotion, learning, and forming memories. The distinction highlights the cerebellum's role in physical coordination versus the cerebrum's role in cognitive abilities.
Disorders of cerebellar function can lead to ataxia, characterized by a lack of muscle control or coordination of voluntary movements, such as walking or picking up objects. Cerebral disorders, however, can manifest in a wide range of symptoms, from cognitive impairments, such as dementia, to emotional and psychological issues, showcasing the cerebrum's broader role in overall brain function.
The cerebellum communicates with other parts of the brain through pathways that allow it to influence movement and coordination. Meanwhile, the cerebrum's extensive network of neurons facilitates complex thought processes, making it the center of intelligence, interpretation of sensory data, and voluntary muscle activity.
Despite these differences, both cerebellar and cerebral functions are integral to daily life and interconnect to support overall brain activity. The balance and coordination provided by the cerebellum complement the sensory processing and thought generation of the cerebrum, illustrating the brain's complexity and the specialized roles of its different parts.

Comparison Chart


Back of the skull
Upper part of the skull

Main Function

Coordination of voluntary movements
Cognitive functions


Ataxia, lack of muscle coordination
Dementia, cognitive impairments


With parts of the brain for movement
With entire brain for thought processes


Essential for balance and speech
Crucial for intelligence and sensory interpretation

Compare with Definitions


Coordination focus.
Cerebellar activities ensure the smooth execution of physical movements.


Cognitive processes.
Cerebral functions encompass reasoning, memory, and emotion.


Located at the brain's back.
The cerebellum's position at the back of the skull is strategic for balance.


Sensory information processing.
The cerebral cortex is key in interpreting touch, vision, and hearing.


Movement and balance.
Cerebellar damage can lead to difficulties in maintaining posture.


Diverse disorders.
Cerebral impairments can range from learning disabilities to emotional disorders.


Ataxia symptomatology.
Cerebellar disorders often manifest as ataxia, affecting movement coordination.


Upper skull location.
The cerebrum occupies the largest area of the brain, located in the upper skull.


Speech regulation.
The cerebellum plays a role in controlling the pace and rhythm of speech.


Emotional and psychological.
The cerebrum's health impacts emotional well-being and personality.


The trilobed structure of the brain, lying posterior to the pons and medulla oblongata and inferior to the occipital lobes of the cerebral hemispheres, that is responsible for the regulation and coordination of complex voluntary muscular movement as well as the maintenance of posture and balance.


Of the cerebrum of the brain
A cerebral haemorrhage
The cerebral cortex


Of or pertaining to the cerebellum.


Another term for retroflex


Of or pertaining to the cerebellum; as, the cerebellar artery.


Of or relating to the brain or cerebrum.


Relating to or associated with the cerebellum;
Cerebellar artery


Appealing to or requiring the use of the intellect; intellectual rather than emotional
“His approach is cerebral, analytical, cautious” (Helen Dewar).


Of, or relating to the brain, cerebrum, or cerebral cortex.


Intellectual rather than emotional or physical.




Of or pertaining to the cerebrum.


Involving intelligence rather than emotions or instinct;
A cerebral approach to the problem
Cerebral drama


Of or relating to the cerebrum or brain;
Cerebral hemisphere
Cerebral activity

Common Curiosities

What distinguishes cerebellar from cerebral functions?

Cerebellar functions involve coordination and balance, while cerebral functions are related to cognitive processes.

What role does the cerebrum play in sensory perception?

It processes and interprets sensory data from the environment.

Are cerebellar or cerebral disorders more impactful?

The impact depends on the disorder's nature and severity, affecting different aspects of life.

How do cerebral disorders manifest?

They can range from memory loss and impaired reasoning to emotional and psychological issues.

How do cerebellar and cerebral functions interact?

They interconnect to ensure smooth, coordinated physical movements and cognitive processing.

What advances have been made in treating cerebral disorders?

Advances include medications, therapies, and sometimes surgical interventions, tailored to specific disorders.

Can physical therapy help with cerebellar dysfunction?

Yes, it can improve coordination and balance issues associated with cerebellar dysfunction.

Can cerebellar disorders affect cognitive functions?

While primarily affecting coordination, cerebellar disorders can also impact cognitive functions indirectly.

Is the cerebellum involved in learning?

Yes, especially in motor learning and coordination tasks.

Can one live without a cerebellum?

Life is possible without a cerebellum, but with significant impairments in movement and coordination.

What is the importance of cerebellar-cerebral interaction?

This interaction is crucial for integrating motor control with cognitive functions, enhancing overall brain efficiency.

Can cerebellar damage be repaired?

While the brain has some plasticity, the extent of recovery from cerebellar damage varies.

What research is being done on cerebral health?

Research spans from neurodegenerative diseases to the impact of lifestyle on cognitive functions.

How do symptoms of cerebellar and cerebral disorders differ?

Cerebellar symptoms often involve physical coordination, while cerebral symptoms are more cognitive and emotional.

How does the cerebrum affect personality?

The cerebrum's frontal lobe is particularly important in determining personality and behavior.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Urooj Arif
Urooj is a skilled content writer at Ask Difference, known for her exceptional ability to simplify complex topics into engaging and informative content. With a passion for research and a flair for clear, concise writing, she consistently delivers articles that resonate with our diverse audience.
Co-written by
Maham Liaqat

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