Spatiotemporal firing patterns in the cerebellum
Neurons are generally considered to communicate information by increasing or decreasing their firing rate. However, in principle, they could in addition convey messages by using specific spatiotemporal patterns of spiking activities and silent intervals. Here, we review expanding lines of evidence that such spatiotemporal coding occurs in the cerebellum, and that the olivocerebellar system is optimally designed to generate and employ precise patterns of complex spikes and simple spikes during the acquisition and consolidation of motor skills. These spatiotemporal patterns may complement rate coding, thus enabling precise control of motor and cognitive processing at a high spatiotemporal resolution by fine-tuning sensorimotor integration and coordination.