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Broca's area

From Academic Kids

Broca's area is the section of the human brain (in the opercular and triangular sections of the inferior frontal gyrus of the frontal lobe of the cortex) which is involved in language processing, speech production and comprehension.

Approximate location of Brocas's area highlighted in gray
Approximate location of Brocas's area highlighted in gray

It can also be described as Brodmann's Area 44 and 45 and is connected to Wernicke's area by a neural pathway called the arcuate fasciculus.

Broca's area is named after Paul Pierre Broca, who first described it in 1861, after conducting a post mortem on a speech impaired patient.

There are two main parts of Broca's area with different roles during language comprehension and production. These are the pars triangularis (anterior) and the pars opercularis (posterior). The former is thought to support the interpretation of various 'modes' of stimuli (plurimodal association) and the programming of verbal conducts. The latter, on the other hand, is thought to support the management of only one kind of stimulus (unimodal association) and the coordination of the speech organs for the actual production of language, given its favorable position close to motor-related areas.

People suffering from damage to this area may show a condition called Broca's aphasia (sometimes known as expressive aphasia, motor aphasia, or nonfluent aphasia) which makes them unable to understand or create grammatically complex sentences: their speech will contain almost nothing but content words.

For example, in the following passage, a Broca's aphasic patient is trying to explain how he came to the hospital for dental surgery.

"Yes... ah... Monday... er... Dad and Peter H... (his own name), and Dad.... er... hospital... and ah... Wednesday... Wednesday, nine o'clock... and oh... Thursday... ten o'clock, ah doctors... two... an' doctors... and er... teeth... yah."1.

See also

References

1Goodglass, H. & Geschwind, N. (1976) Language disorders. In E. Carterette and M.P. Friedman (eds.) Handbook of Perception: Language and Speech. Vol II. New York: Academic Press.no:Brocas område

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