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Language & The Brain Name of Institution

Brocas Area

Posterior Speech Areas

Including Wernickes

Dr. Jitendra K Sinha

Asst. Prof., AINN
Language Acquisition Name of Institution

Language is human specific

Critical Period in First Language:
Acquisition of L1 is impaired after puberty
Critical Period in Second Language:
Acquisition of L2 is impaired after puberty
Evolution of Language:
Gestures were important
Nonhuman Primates Name of Institution

Vocalizations look preprogramed, serving

specific purposes only
Initiated by sub-cortical areas like limbic
But for vocalization and decoding, they
also use left hemisphere
Name of Institution
Language DisordersName of Institution

Egyptians reported
speech loss after blow
to head 3000 years ago
Broca (1861) finds
damage to left inferior
frontal region (Brocas
area) of a language
impaired patient, in
postmortem analysis
Language Disorders (2) Name of Institution

In language disorders
90-95% of cases, damage is to the left
5-10% of cases, to the right hemisphere
Wada test is used to determine the
hemispheric dominance
Sodium amydal is injected to the carotid artery
First to the left and then to the right
Language Disorders (3) Name of Institution

Substitution of a word by a sound, an incorrect
word, or an unintended word
Paraphasia with a completely novel word
Nonfluent speech:
Talking with considerable effort
Impairment in writing
Disturbances in reading
Three major types of Aphasia Name of Institution
Rosenzweig: Table 19.1, p. 615

Borcas aphasia
Nonfluent speech
Wernickes aphasia
Fluent speech but unintelligible
Global aphasia
Total loss of language
Others: Conduction, Subcortical, Transcortical
Motor/Sensory (see also Kandel, Table 59-1)
Brain areas involved in
Name of Institution
Wernicke-Geschwind Model Name of Institution
1. Repeating a spoken word

Arcuate fasciculus is the bridge from the Wernickes

area to the Brocas area
Wernicke-Geschwind Model Name of Institution
2. Repeating a written word

Angular gyrus is the gateway from visual cortex to Wernickes

This is an oversimplification of the issue:
not all patients show such predicted behavior (Howard, 1997)
Brocas Aphasia Brodmann
Name 44, 45
of Institution

Dr. Gardner: Were you in the

Coast Guard?
Brocas Mr. Ford (patient):
Area No, er, yes, yes ship
Massachu chusetts
Coastguardyears. He held up
his hand twice indicating 19.
Gardner H. The Shattered Mind. New York: Vintage Books,
1974, pp 60-61

1. Language Comprehension (good)

2. Speech Produc9on (impaired):
Posterior Speech
Areas Including Nonuent
Wernickes Area Words improperly formed
Slow and slurred
Paraphasic errors:
purnpike (for turnpike)

Wernickes Aphasia Brodmann
Name 22, 30
of Institution

Brocas Dr. Gardner: What brings you to

Area the hospital? I asked the 72-
year-old retired butcher four
weeks after his admission to the

Mr. Gorgan (patient):

Boy, Im sweating, Im awful
nervous, you know, once in a while
I get caught up, I cant mention
Posterior Speech the tarripoi, a month agok, quite a
Areas Including little, Ive done a lot well, I
Wernickes Area impose a lot, while on the other
hand, you know what I mean, I
have to run around, look it over,
1. Language Comprehension (poor) trebbin and all that sort of stuff.
2. Speech fluent but nonsensical Gardner H. The Shattered Mind. New York: Vintage Books,
1974, pp 67-68
3. Long sentences without meaning

White MaPer Tract that

connects Brocas Area and
Wernickes Area

Damage: Conduc9on Aphasia
1.Language Comprehension:
In 97% of people, both Broca's Area and
Wernicke's Area only on leZ hemisphere. 2.Fluent speech with some
paraphasic errors
3.Inability to repeat words

Vernooij, et al. Neuroimage, Vol 35(3) 15 April 2007,
pp 1064-1076
Name of Institution

The Arcuate Fasciculus (lime green) in

dierent primates using tractography.


Nature Neuroscience 11, 426 - 428 (2008)

Bilinguals: A Neural
Signature? Name of Institution

Ac9va9on in bilinguals (English-

Spanish)> monolinguals

Contrast for English language
(BA 45, Laterial Inferior Parietal
Cortex, including Brocas Area)

Hot/red: Ac9va9on unique
to bilinguals

Shared ac9va9on between
bilinguals and monolinguals on a
syntac9c task in English.

Adapted from Kovelman, et al. Journal of Cogni9ve Neuroscience January 2008,

Vol. 20, No. 1, Pages 153-169
Dyslexia Name of Institution

Problem in learning to read

Common in boys and left-handed
High IQ, so related with language only
Postmortem observation revealed anomalies in
the arrangement of cortical cells
Micropolygyria: excessive cortical folding
Ectopias: nests of extra cells in unusual location
Might have occurred in mid-gestation, during cell
migration period
Acquired Dyslexia = Alexia Name of Institution

Disorder in adulthood as a result of disease

or injury
Deep dyslexia (pays attn. to wholes):
cow -> horse, cannot read abstract words
Fails to see small differences (do not read each
Problems with nonsense words
Surface dyslexia (pays attn. to details):
Nonsense words are fine
Suggests 2 different systems:
One focused on the meanings of whole words
The other on the sounds of words
Lateralization of the Brain
Name of Institution

Human body is asymmetrical: heart, liver,

use of limbs, etc.
Functions of the brain become lateralized
Each hemisphere specialized for particular
ways of working
Split-brain patients are good examples of
lateralization of language functions
Lateralization of functions Name of Institution

Left-hemisphere: Right-hemisphere:
Simultaneous analysis
Sequential analysis Synthetic
Analytical Visual-Spatial skills
Problem solving Cognitive maps
Language Personal space
Facial recognition
Emotional functions
Recognizing emotions
Expressing emotions
Split-brain Name of Institution

Epileptic activity spread from one hemisphere to

the other thru corpus callosum
Since 1930, such epileptic treated by severing
the interhemispheric pathways
At first no detectible changes (e.g. IQ)
Animal research revealed deficits:
Cat with both corpus callosum and optic chiasm
Left-hemisphere could be trained for symbol:reward
Right-hemisphere could be trained for inverted
Left vs. Right Brain Name of Institution

Pre and post operation studies showed that:

Selective stimulation of the right and left
hemisphere was possible by stimulating different
parts of the body (e.g. right/left hand):
Thus can test the capabilities of each hemisphere
Left hemisphere could read and verbally
Right hemisphere had small linguistic capacity:
recognize single words
Vocabulary and grammar capabilities of right is far
less than left
Only the processes taking place in the left
hemisphere could be described verbally
Name of Institution

Videos about Language Processing

Genie, the language-deprived child:


Brocas aphasia:


Wernickes aphasia:


Split-brain pa9ent: