This paper reports FMRI in humans performing a task requiring first-order rules (S-R associations with a specific motor output) and second order rules that govern the use of the first-order rules.  Cerebellum lobules that project to the prefrontal cortex show activation for both types of rules.  This suggests that the cerebellum contributes to rule-based behaviors even when the rules are higher-order and don’t directly involve a motor command.

For further reading on the role of rules in cognition and their neural implementation see:
Miller, E.K. and Cohen, J.D. (2001) An integrative theory of prefrontal cortex function. Annual Review of Neuroscience, 24:167-202.  View PDF »

Buschman, T.J., Denovellis, E.L., Diogo, C., Bullock, D. and Miller, E.K. (2012) Synchronous oscillatory neural ensembles for rules in the prefrontal cortex. Neuron, 76: 838-846.  View PDF

Wallis, J.D., Anderson, K.C., and Miller, E.K. (2001) Single neurons in the prefrontal cortex encode abstract rules. Nature, 411:953-956. View PDF »

About the Author

The Miller Lab uses experimental and theoretical approaches to study the neural basis of the high-level cognitive functions that underlie complex goal-directed behavior.