Brocas Area Proper

Broca's area proper, BA 44/6, is attributed with a range of functions, but its exact role in language is debated based on the variety of different tasks that activate it. The basic point of agreement in the functional imaging literature is that this region is involved in articulation and transforming phonemes into speech motor plans, as indicated by its activation in overt speech tasks. Figure 3 shows a meta-analysis of the functional imaging literature reporting activation of BA 44/6 in overt or covert speech paradigms plotted as average three-dimensional coordinates. The studies used in the meta-analysis all involved

Figure 2 Three-dimensional representations of the three subdivisions of Broca's area and the motor area for the mouth are shown from the left (top) and right (bottom). The average positions (see Table I) were calculated from a meta-analysis of functional imaging literature (see Table II) reporting activation in standardized space, and relative intensities are based on z scores of activation. Broca's area proper, or BA 44/6, is active in both hemispheres, but it shows greater activation in the left hemisphere. Sub-Broca's area, or anterior insula, appears more evenly distributed between the hemispheres and demonstrates less intense activation than does Broca's area proper. Pre-Broca's area, or BA 46/47, is significantly lateralized to the left hemisphere, and the area shows the least intense activation of the three subdivisions. The motor area for the mouth is lateralized to the left hemisphere and shows activation on that side comparable to that of Broca's area proper. (See color insert).

Table I

Average Activation Coordinates for Language Areas

Area

X (SD)

Y (SD)

Z (SD)

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