Brodmann's Interactive Atlas

Broca's Area
(Inferior frontal gyrus - Pars opercularis)

Associated Functions
Reviewer's note

From the traditional point of view, Broca's area corresponds to BA 44, but several contemporary authors also include BA 45.  It can be conjectured that in the future, the most anterior part of the insula could also be included in the Broca’s area, given its participation in the praxis of speech (motor speech programming). Different proposals have been presented to explain language disturbances in so-called Broca’s aphasia; different hypotheses have attempted to postulate a core BA44 function, including: binding the elements of the language, selecting information among competing sources, generating/extracting action meanings; sequencing motor/expressive elements; cognitive control mechanism for the syntactic processing of sentences; construction of higher parts of the syntactic tree in speech production; and verbal working memory.  Functional studies have further improved our understanding of BA44. Although the core BA44 function remain elusive, fluency and sequencing may potentially account for many of the functions in which BA44 participates. The suggestion that BA44 includes mirror neurons for expressive movements is particularly provocative and may enlighten the question of inner speech (e.g., internally generated language).  Functional studies have also contributed to further understand right BA44, which seemingly participates in perception and expression of prosodic and emotional information. From the perspective of the lesional model, unfortunately just few studies have analyzed the clinical disturbances associated with right BA44. Functional studies have also disclosed the participation of BA44 in a diversity of tasks that are difficult to interpret with our current understanding of the brain, such as pain anticipation, perception of tactile stimulation, motion after-effect, object manipulation, smelling familiar odors, and music enjoyment; in those cases, BA44 activation is just an additional element in a complex brain network; it may be suggested that some internal verbalization can account for BA44 involvement in these unexpected activities.  Its participation in working memory may also reflect the internal rehearsal of the information. 

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