Event Abstract

Wernicke revisits Broca: a new look at language from intracranial recordings

  • 1 University of California at Berkeley, United States

Classic aphasiology posits a central role of Wernicke’s area in the posterior temporal lobe in language perception and Broca’s area in the frontal lobe in language production. The high gamma response (HG; 60-200 Hz) in the electrocorticogram precisely tracks auditory processing in the neocortex and can be used to assess sound, phoneme and word representation as well as the flow of information during language tasks. Using this approach we have been able to dissect the neural mechanisms of speech suppression, categorical representation and the timing of speech perception and production in peri-sylvian language regions. Presentation of a word to be repeated generates robust HG activity in Wernicke’s area onsetting at 50 msec. Surprisingly, the presentation of the word also reliably generates HG activity in Broca’s area at 200 msec. During repetition of the same word HG activity is evident in Broca’s area preceding speech articulation but no activity is observed in Broca’s area during actual speaking. These results reveal that both Wernicke’s and Broca’s areas are involved in speech perception. Broca’s area prepares the speech motor program but is not involved in the actual articulation of speech. These results suggest a more complex structure of language processing and highlight the value of electrocorticography in understanding human cognition.

Keywords: electrocorticography, language perception, Language production

Conference: XI International Conference on Cognitive Neuroscience (ICON XI), Palma, Mallorca, Spain, 25 Sep - 29 Sep, 2011.

Presentation Type: Keynote Lecture

Topic: Keynote Lectures

Citation: Knight RT (2011). Wernicke revisits Broca: a new look at language from intracranial recordings. Front. Hum. Neurosci. Conference Abstract: XI International Conference on Cognitive Neuroscience (ICON XI). doi: 10.3389/conf.fnhum.2011.207.00007

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Received: 02 Nov 2011; Published Online: 08 Nov 2011.

* Correspondence: Dr. Robert T Knight, University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley, CA, United States, rtknight@berkeley.edu

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