A study reveals that the part of the brain identified as the command centre for human speech does not actually work when we speak loudly. The Broca's area - named after 19th century French physician Pierre Paul Broca - has been recognized for more than 150 years as the command centre for human speech, including vocalization.
Scientists are now challenging this long-held assumption with new evidence that Broca's area actually switches off when we talk out loud. Neuroscientists have traditionally organized the brain's language centre into two main regions: one for perceiving speech and one for producing speech.
The finding helps in moving towards a view that Broca's area is not a centre for speech production but rather a critical area for integrating and coordinating information across other brain regions.
The discovery has major implications for the diagnoses and treatments of stroke, epilepsy and brain injuries that result in language impairments. Scientists believe that the results could help advance language mapping during neurosurgery as well as the assessment of language impairments.