It’s a part of the brain that could end up being the gateway to earlier diagnoses when it comes to some mental disorders.

Scientists often call the cerebellum 'the little brain.' Western University scientist Jörn Diedrichsen explains why.

“Traditionally it is thought the cerebellum is part of creating fine movements, so it’s involved in motor control, that's what’s in all the text books and what medical students are taught.”

But scientists believe this integral part of the brain does much more, with some studies suggesting it’s also responsible for thoughts, language, problem solving and social skills.

Diedrichsen and his team at Western wanted to investigate the possibility further.

“We have very good maps of the big brain the neocortex but the little brain - the cerebellum - we didn’t have good maps, we didn’t really have a good overview of what tasks it’s involved in.”

For the first time ever, scientists decided to create a task-based map of the cerebellum.

The study was conducted with the help of approximately 25 participants who had their brain activity scanned and recorded while performing a variety of tasks.

This new tool can now help unlock more information on the workings of the cerebellum, which is believed to be connected to neurological and mental health disorders such as autism and schizophrenia.

“We are developing a short test now, that if you were to develop a test, that would predict onset of schizophrenia earlier down the line [so] you could intervene in these high-risk children.”

More info and cool brain animations are available on the Western University website.