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
Instructor: 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.

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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