What Part of the Brain Controls Speech?

3 min read -
Stefan Mitrovic
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A man holding a mic and speaking on stage
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Highlights: What part of the brain controls speech? We participate in communication daily but we rarely stop to think about what part of our brain is responsible.

Have you ever wondered how our minds form words? Or how you understand what other people are saying?

The answer to these questions lies in understanding what part of the brain controls speech.

What Part of the Brain Controls Speech?

The part of the brain that is responsible for speech is called the Broca’s area. It is located in the cerebrum on the left side of the brain. You’ll find it in the frontal lobe. Damage in Broca’s area is characterized by slurred and unclear words. This condition is called Broca’s aphasia, or non-fluent aphasia.

Sufferers are able to understand what is being said, they know what they want to say, but the order from the brain to the speech organs cannot be executed.

Speaking is a complex process, as it involves both speech comprehension and speech production. Healthy brains do both effortlessly.

Damage to any area involved in speech can cause various conditions, such as dyslexia (not being able to read), anomia (not being able to name things), and agraphia (not being able to write).

What Side of the Brain Controls Speech?

The left side of the brain controls speech.

As well as the Broca’s area, another area that controls speech is called the Wernicke’s area. It deals with understanding speech and language. That is how we can understand others and react with proper emotion. It is also connected to the sensory cortex.

People who have damaged this speech center are not able to understand what they hear. However, they do not have problems with word formation. This condition is called Wernicke’s aphasia.

People with damage to both areas have a condition called global aphasia.

Left brain vs. right brain characteristics that show which side of the brain controls speech

Where Is the Speech Center of the Brain?

The entire cerebral cortex contains two hemispheres. They are, for the most part, symmetrical in function. The cerebellum also contains two hemispheres and is located at the back of the brain, the part of the brain responsible for our sense of balance.

For a majority of the population, the speech center of the brain is located in the left hemisphere (90% of right-handed individuals, 70% of left-handed individuals).

But it’s important to remember that all functionality of the brain is a mutual effort of all four lobes of the brain. Without the proper functioning of all four lobes, we would have difficulty with basic motor function, sight, speech, and higher thinking processes handled by the frontal lobe.

Which Part of the Brain Deals With Sight?

Interestingly enough, vision is controlled by the part of the brain that is furthest away from the eyes themselves—the occipital lobe. It is located in the back of your head above the brain stem, the part of your brain that controls breathing.

The occipital lobe also has two hemispheres. The left hemisphere processes information from the right eye, and vice versa.

The primary visual cortex (V1) gets raw information from the eyes and sends it to the secondary visual cortex for further processing. The secondary visual cortex (V2, V3, and V4) is made out of the ventral stream and dorsal stream. Visual stimuli are processed in the temporal lobe as well.

It’s important to keep the brain healthy and to challenge it with new tasks on a daily basis. That way, we can keep our brains strong and functioning well.

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Stefan Mitrovic

Stefan Mitrovic

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