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Wernicke's Area

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Broca's Area and Wernicke’s Area

Wernicke's area, often known as Wernicke's speech area is one among the two areas of the cerebral cortex connected to speech, with Broca's area being the other. In relation to Broca's region, which is concerned with language processing, this is engaged in comprehension of speaking and writing. 

Wernicke's Area Location: Brodmann region 22 (Wernicke’s area number), which is situated within the superior temporal gyrus inside the dominant cerebral hemisphere, and that is the left hemisphere in around 95 percent of right-handed people and 70 percent of left-handed people, is thought to house it.

Wernicke's aphasia is a receptive, fluent aphasia Wernicke which occurs due to Wernicke’s area damage. The individual with aphasia would be able to link terms proficiently, however, the phrases would be meaningless. Non-fluent aphasia, on the other hand, is characterised by the use of meaningful words, however in a non-fluent, telegraphic fashion.

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Wernicke area is historically thought to have been in the left cerebral hemisphere, there in the posterior portion of the superior temporal gyrus (STG). The auditory cortex upon the lateral sulcus, the region of the brain in which the temporal and parietal lobes cross, is encircled via this area. The posterior part of Brodmann area 22 (Wernicke’s area number) seems to be the neuroanatomical name for this area.

Nevertheless, there are no clear descriptions of where the position is. The unimodal auditory connection throughout the superior temporal gyrus anterior to the primary auditory cortex has been connected to it (the anterior part of BA 22). Functional brain imaging studies have repeatedly involved this location in auditory word recognition. Others include neighbouring portions of the heteromodal cortex in the parietal lobe's BA 39 and BA40. Despite the widespread belief in a distinct "Wernicke's Region," the most recent research indicates that it is not a coherent term.

The arcuate fasciculus was typically considered to link Wernicke's area and Broca's area, but recent research shows that it actually links posterior receptive areas through premotor/motor areas, however not Broca's area. The uncinate fasciculus binds the anterior superior temporal regions with Broca's field, which is compatible with the word recognition site found in brain imaging.

Wernicke's Area Function:

Right Homologous Area: The Wernicke's region throughout the non-dominant cerebral hemisphere appears to play a role in processing and resolution of subordinate meanings of vague terms, like "river" whenever provided with the ambiguous term "bank," according to analysis employing transcranial magnetic stimulation. The Wernicke's region in the dominant hemisphere, on the other hand, expresses dominant word meanings.

Modern Views: According to neuroimaging, the roles previously assigned to Wernicke's area arise more generally in the temporal lobe, even in Broca's area.

Clinical Significance


Carl Wernicke, a German psychiatrist and neurologist, proposed a connection between the left posterior segment of the superior temporal gyrus and the reflexive mimicking of words and their syllables in 1874, tying the sensory and motor representations of spoken words together. He made this decision based on the position of Aphasia Wernicke - causing brain injuries. Wernicke's aphasia is a form of receptive aphasia where certain abilities are retained. There seems to be significant impairment in language comprehension throughout this condition, despite the fact that speech has a natural-sounding rhythm and a relatively regular syntax.

The auditory cortex sends information to Wernicke's region, which assigns word meanings. This is why damage towards this area causes nonsensical speech, which is also accompanied by paraphasic errors and the development of new terms or phrases. Semantic paraphasia is the substitution of one word for another, while phonemic paraphasia is the substitution of one sound or syllable for another. This type of speech is known as "word salad," since it appears fluent but has no discernible context. Natural sentence structure and prosody, as well as intonation, inflection, pace, and rhythm, are retained. Broca's aphasia, on the other hand, is marked by nonfluency. Patients are usually unaware that their speech is affected in this way because their speech comprehension has changed. Repetition, reading, and written language are all affected.

Broca's Area:

Broca's area, also known as the Broca area, is an area inside the frontal lobe of the dominant hemisphere of the brain, typically the left, that controls speech output.

Since Pierre Paul Broca recorded impairments among two patients, language processing has indeed been related to the Broca Wernicke region. They couldn't talk because of brain damage to the posterior inferior frontal gyrus (pars triangularis) (BA45). Ever since Broca's field has been named after him, and Broca's aphasia, commonly recognized as expressive aphasia, has been named after the deficiency in language development he discovered. Broca's area has been commonly identified in terms of the inferior frontal gyrus's pars opercularis and pars triangularis, which are shown in Brodmann's cytoarchitectonic map as Brodmann area 44 as well as Brodmann area 45 of the dominant hemisphere.


Broca's region is frequently defined by visual examination of the topography of the brain, either through macrostructural landmarks like sulci or through specifying coordinates within specific reference space. Brodmann's cytoarchitectonic map is projected onto a reference brain using the Talairach and Tournoux atlases, which are already being used. 

Brodmann's parcellation is inaccurate since it was focused on subjective visual inspection of cytoarchitectonic boundaries and Brodmann only looked at a single hemisphere within one brain. Furthermore, due to a wide range of sizes, shapes, and positions of sulcal and gyral structure in different brains, localization precision is reduced.

Broca's region inside the left hemisphere, as well as its homologue inside the right hemisphere, are common names for the triangular portion of the opercular part of the inferior frontal gyrus (POp) and the inferior frontal gyrus (PTr). By Brodmann's classification system, the PTr and POp are characterised by structural landmarks which only probabilistically separate the inferior frontal gyrus into posterior and anterior cytoarchitectonic regions of 45 and 44, respectively.


Language Comprehension: For a long period of time, this was thought that Broca's region was primarily responsible for language development rather than comprehension. Broca's area, on the other hand, appears to play an important role in language comprehension. Patients with lesions in Broca's area that produce agrammatical speech often have difficulty determining the meaning of the sentence using syntactic information. Several neuroimaging studies have also suggested that Broca's region, specifically the pars opercularis of the left inferior frontal gyrus, is involved in the production of complex sentences.

Furthermore, studies using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) have also shown that highly ambiguous phrases stimulate the inferior frontal gyrus. Due to the extreme enhanced retrieval demands associated with highly ambiguous information, the rate of operation in the inferior frontal gyrus and the extent of lexical ambiguity are approximately equal to one another.

Action Recognition and Production: Broca's region appears to be involved in a variety of cognitive and perceptual functions, according to recent research. Brodmann's area 44 also makes a significant contribution to motor-related processes. The frontal language area is activated when significant hand shadows reflecting moving animals are seen, indicating that Broca's area does play a role in understanding others' behaviour. BA 44 has also been found to be enabled during grasping and coercion.

Speech-associated Gestures: Since speech-associated gestures are thought to minimise lexical or sentential ambiguity, understanding is thought to increase when they are present. Broca's involvement must be diminished as a result of increased understanding.

Speaking without Broca's Area: Broca's area of harm is often linked to telegraphic speech composed of material vocabulary. For instance, an individual having Broca's aphasia might say, "Drive, shop. Mom," which means, "Today, my mother drove me to the shop." As a result, the knowledge is right in content, but the syntax and smoothness of the sentence are lacking.

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FAQs on Wernicke's Area

Q1. What are Some of the Signs and Symptoms of Broca's Aphasia?

Ans. Below mentioned are some of the signs and symptoms of Broca's aphasia:-

  • Grammar errors or omissions

  • Having trouble putting full sentences together.

  • omitting those terms like "the," "an," "and," and "is" (for example, a person with Broca's aphasia might say "Cup, me" rather than "I want the cup").

  • Verbs are more difficult to use properly than nouns.

Q2. Who is Carl Wernicke and What Did He Discover?

Ans. Carl Wernicke was a neurologist and psychiatrist from Germany. His identification of the region in the cerebrum accountable for receptive language/speech phenomenon in the superior gyrus of the temporal lobe  (Wernicke aphasia) is mainly remembered by speech-language pathologists.

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