Last Updated on Sep 03, 2014

Wernike's Area

Wernicke's area for Comprehensive Language:

Ten years after Paul Broca identified the area in the brain for speech production, Carl Wernicke discovered that the posterior portion of the left temporal lobe was involved in understanding language. The presence of lesion in this area would not affect speech production, but the words would be incoherent and make no sense. Further investigations suggest that Brodmann area 22, located in the posterior section of the superior temporal gyrus in the dominant hemisphere of the cerebrum is involved in the understanding of written and spoken language.

Some branches of the nerves associated with Wernicke’s area also extend around the posterior section of the lateral sulcus, in the parietal lobe.

The homologous area to the Wernicke’s area in the less dominant hemisphere is found to process the comprehension of ambiguous words and word associations. This area is able to process jokes and pun.

Significance of location: Wernicke's area is located between the visual and auditory cortices. The auditory cortex lies anterior to the superior temporal gyrus at the transverse temporal gyrus (Brodmann’s areas 41 and 42) and the visual cortex is in the occipital lobe, posterior to the area (Brodmann’s areas 17, 18 and 19).

Damage or lesion in Wernicke's area causes Wernicke’s aphasia or receptive aphasia. The person may seem to speak fluently as the sentence construction and rhythm of speech is retained. However, the patient has problems in selection of nouns and may find some other words that sound like the original words to replace. This results in new, meaningless or jargon words and on the whole, the language is totally meaningless. There is also impairment in understanding nonverbal sounds like animal and machine noises.

References:

  1. Broca's area - (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Broca's_area)
  2. Language processing in the brain - (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Language_processing_in_the_brain)
  3. Arcuate fasciculus - (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arcuate_fasciculus)
  4. ARCUATE FASCICULUS SIZE AND TRAJECTORY - (http://carta.anthropogeny.org/moca/topics/arcuate-fasciculus)
  5. Wernicke's area - (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wernicke%27s_area)
  6. Angular gyrus - (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angular_gyrus)

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