Wernicke´s Area

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Wernicke's area is situated in the posterior section of the superior temporal gyrus, in the temporal lobe of the left cerebral hemisphere. It encircles the primary auditory cortex on the Sylvian fissure. The Wernicke´s area is neuroanatomically described as the posterior part of Brodmann area 22. Wernicke's area is connected to Broca's area via the arcuate fasciculus, a neural pathway, and to the visual cortex via the angular gyrus. Wernicke’s area is involved with speech comprehension.

Wernicke's area was named after Carl Wernicke, a German neurologist and psychiatrist. He hypothesized a link between the left posterior section of the superior temporal gyrus and the reflexive mimicking of words and their syllables that associated the sensory and motor images of spoken words. Damage to the Wernicke´s area results in speech understanding impairment, or Wernicke´s Aphasia.

The recognition of a word takes place in the Wernicke´s area, using neurons in the posterior and middle portion of the superior temporal gyrus. Comprehension of a word is a complex process of analyzing the acoustic, phonological, lexical, and syntactic level of a word. Wernicke's area puts meaning onto words, and pairs words with meanings.