Broca's Area: Function & Definition

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  • 0:00 What is Broca's Area?
  • 0:25 Finding Broca's Area
  • 1:20 Function of Broca's Area
  • 2:10 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Derrick Arrington

Derrick has taught biology and chemistry at both the high school and college level. He has a master's degree in science education.

Expert Contributor
Amanda Robb

Amanda holds a Masters in Science from Tufts Medical School in Cellular and Molecular Physiology. She has taught high school Biology and Physics for 8 years.

The brain is very complex and is composed of many crucial parts. Each of these parts perform a specific function. In this lesson you will learn about Broca's area.

What Is Broca's Area?

Broca's area was named after French surgeon Paul Broca, who is credited with determining the significance and function of this part of the brain. Broca's area is located in the lower portion of the left frontal lobe of the brain. Broca examined this part of the brain when dealing with people who had speech impairments to determine that it is responsible for the production of words and speech.

Finding Broca's Area

Paul Broca was known for working on patients who had disabilities in communication. Some of the individuals were born this way, while others had suffered a trauma that rendered them unable to communicate. One of his most famous patients was named Leborgne. Into adulthood, this individual lost the ability to speak and could only repeat the word 'tan.' After Leborgne's death, Broca examined his brain and found that he had developed a lesion on his brain that covered what is now known as Broca's area.

Another one of his patients was called Lelong. He was only able to say 'yes' or 'no', and 'lelo.' After his death an autopsy revealed a lesion in the same area as Leborgne. These two cases are considered the foundation in locating the area of the brain associated with speech and communication.

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Additional Activities

Broca's Aphasia

In this research activity, students are going to expand their knowledge of Broca's area by investigating case studies on a condition that specifically affects Broca's area, called Broca's aphasia. Students should research what this condition is, and find three different case studies. Students should use credible sources such as Mayo Clinic, NHS, The Aphasia Center, or other sources written by scientists and medical professionals. For each case study, students should outline the cause of the aphasia, the symptoms, and the treatment. For example, students might research a specific case study listed on the Aphasia Center and describe the cause of the aphasia, such as a stroke, and symptoms, like limited speech or one-word answers. A treatment for this case study might include strategies such as language therapies or speech therapy.

Student Instructions

Now that you are familiar with Broca's area, you're going to be investigating a condition that specifically affects this part of the brain, called Broca's aphasia. You will create a slideshow to present your research. Your slides should include an overview of what Broca's aphasia is, and an overview of three different case studies for patients with Aphasia. Case studies for aphasia patients can be found in scientific journals or support sites like the Aphasia Center. To make sure your slides have all of the required information, check the criteria for success below.

Criteria For Success

  • Slides include an overview of what Broca's aphasia is
  • Slides include three case studies
  • Each study includes the causes, symptoms, and treatment of the patient
  • Slides are colorful, attractive, and professionally created

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