Date of Award

5-9-2015

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Tricia Z. King, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Robin Morris, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Bruce Crosson, Ph.D.

Abstract

Research suggests that the cerebellum is involved in cognition, but its exact role is unclear. The efficiency theory posits that the cerebellum supports processing speed. Other researchers argue that the cerebellum is functionally heterogeneous, and damage to lobes of the cerebellum causes selective loss of cognitive functions. This study sought to determine whether selective impairment in motor, verbal fluency, or processing speed occurred depending on the lobe of the cerebellum that was lesioned. Lesion mapping was used to measure lesion size and volumetric methods were used to measure atrophy in 25 adult survivors of cerebellar tumors. Participants had too a high degree of heterogeneous cerebellar lesions and accompanying atrophy to explore specialization. However, total cerebellar atrophy negatively impacted written and oral processing speed to a greater degree than total cerebellar lesion size. Younger ages at diagnosis and radiation therapy were associated with greater cerebellar atrophy.

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