Broca's Region

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Overview

Broca's region has been in the news ever since scientists realized that particular cognitive functions could be localized to parts of the cerebral cortex. Its discoverer, Paul Broca, was one of the first researchers to argue for a direct connection between a concrete behavior—in this case, the use of language—and a specific cortical region. Today, Broca's region is perhaps the most famous part of the human brain, and for over a century, has persisted as the focus of intense research and numerous debates. The name has even penetrated mainstream culture through popular science and the theater. Broca's region is famous for a good reason: As language is one of the most distinctive human traits, the cognitive mechanisms that support it and the tissues in which these mechanisms are housed are also quite complex, and so have the potential to reveal a lot not only about how words, phrases, sentences, and grammatical rules are instantiated in neural tissue, but also, and more broadly, about how brain function relates to behavior. Paul Broca's discoveries were an important, driving force behind the more general effort to relate complex behavior to particular parts of the cerebral cortex, which, significantly, produced the first brain maps.

These early studies also, however, suffered from the use of crude techniques, definitions, and distinctions, as well as from ill founded and misdirected assumptions. Although much has been discovered since Broca's work, even today, these problems have not been completely solved. Nonetheless, particularly as a result of important advances made in neuroimaging during the past two decades, Broca's region and all language areas are currently being investigated from every angle. Indeed, as the volume of research into the relations between brain and language has created several communities, each with its own concepts, methods, and considerations, it seemed that it was time to stop, get together, and reflect on the state of the art.

This book is the result of that collective reflection, which took place primarily at the Broca's Region Workshop, held in Jülich and Aachen, Germany, in June 2004. In it, Yosef Grodzinsky and Katrin Amunts tried to accomplish a nearly impossible task: to mix intellectual traditions and cultures, and juxtapose rather disparate bodies of knowledge, styles of reasoning, and forms of argumentation. Participants were scientists with diverse backgrounds; each invited to contribute his/her particular take, with the hope that a coherent, perhaps even novel, picture would emerge. All of the participants have a special interest in Broca's Region, and represent the myriad angles from which we currently approach it: neuroanatomy, physiology, evolutionary biology, cognitive psychology, clinical neurology, functional imaging, speech and language research, computational biology, and psycho-, neuro-, and theoretical linguistics. The book's main chapters are the contributions of the Workshop's participants and their research teams. Parts of the discussion during the Workshop are included to underscore the richness of viewpoints, and to give readers an idea of the level of interaction that took place.

As Broca's region is such a historically significant concept and rich area, this book contains a collection of classic and recent-yet-classic papers. Along with cutting-edge science, Grodzinsky and Amunts want to remind readers of the celebrated past from which much can be learned. The historical chapters include the first two papers written by Paul Broca, as well some work by two of the most important neurologists of the nineteenth century, Ludwig Lichtheim and John Hughlings-Jackson. Also included are parts of twentieth century papers by Korbinian Brodmann, Roman Jakobson, Norman Geschwind, Harold Goodglass, and Jay Mohr. Because this book both reflects the state of the art in Broca's-region research and contains a tribute to its celebrated past, it will be a valuable resource for student and professional researchers. It will also stimulate further interdisciplinary research, which is a significant contribution, as the project called "Broca's region," encompassing the study of brain/language relations, is far from finished.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Every chapter has something of interest and value, and some are notable."—PsycCRITIQUES
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195177640
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 4/20/2006
  • Pages: 440
  • Product dimensions: 10.00 (w) x 7.20 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Yosef Grodzinsky is Professor of Linguistics and Canada Research Chair in Neurolinguistics at McGill University, and Associate Member of the Department of Neurology/Neurosurgery. He is also Adjunct Professor of Neurology at Boston University School of Medicine. Grodzinsky is interested in the neurological instantiation of formal syntactic and semantic knowledge, which he has been studying both in health and in disease.

Katrin Amunts is Professor of Structural-Functional Brain Mapping at Aachen University and the Institute of Medicine at the Research Center Jülich. She completed her postdoctoral work and was a lecturer in anatomy at the C. and O. Vogt Institute for Brain Research of the Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf. In 1999, she moved to Jülich and set up a new research unit for brain mapping. Her current research project is to create, along with Karl Zilles, the first probabilistic, cytoarchitectonic atlas of the human brain. Amunts is particularly interested in the neuroanatomy underlying language processing.

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Table of Contents

Introduction.
Part 1: Matters Anatomical.
1. The Origin of Broca's Area and Its Connections from an Ancestral Working-Memory Network, Francisco Aboitiz, Ricardo García, Enzo Brunetti, and Conrado Bosman
2. A Multimodal Analysis of Structure and Function in Broca's region, Katrin Amunts and Karl Zilles
3. Broca's Area in the Human and the Non-human Primate Brain, Michael Petrides
Part 2: Matters Linguistic.
4. Weak Syntax, Sergey Avrutin
5. Speech Production in Broca's Agrammatic Aphasia: Syntactic Tree Pruning, Na'ama Friedmann
6. A Blueprint for a Brain Map of Syntax, Yosef Grodzinsky
7. Evaluating Deficit Patterns of Broca Aphasics in the Presence of High Inter Subject Variability, Dan Drai
8. Treating Language Deficits in Broca's Aphasia, Lewis P. Shapiro and Cynthia K. Thompson
Part 3: Motor Aspects and Sign Language.
9. Broca's Region: A Speech Area?, Luciano Fadiga, Laila Craighero, Alice Roy
10. Broca's Area in System Perspective: Language in the Context of Action-Oriented Perception, Michael Arbib
11. The Role of Broca's Area in Sign Language, Karen Emmorey
Part 4: Psycholinguistic Investigation.
12. Broca's Area and Lexical-semantic Processing, Stefano F. Cappa and Daniela Perani
13. The Neural Basis of Sentence Processing: Inferior Frontal and Temporal Contributions, Angela D. Friederici
14. Involvement of the Left and Right Frontal Operculum in Speech and Nonspeech Perception and Production, Martin E. Meyer & Lutz Jäncke
15. On Broca, Brain and Binding, Peter Hagoort
16. A Role for Broca's Area Beyond Language Processing: Evidence from Neuropsychology and fMRI, Gereon R. Fink, Zina M. Manjaly, Klaas E. Stephan, Jennifer M. Gurd, Karl Zilles, Katrin Amunts, and John C. Marshall
17. Discussion, Karl Zilles, Luciano Fadiga, Sergey Avrutin, Francisco Aboitiz, Stefano Cappa, Kyle Johnson, Gereon Fink, Yosef Grodzinsky, Michael Arbib, Peter Hagoort, Lewis Shapiro, Na'ama Friedmann, Karen Emmorey, Norbert Herschkovitz, Michael Petrides, Katrin Amunts
Part 5: Historical Articles, Introduction. Katrin Amunts and Yosef Grodzinsky
18. Comments Regarding the Seat of the Faculty of Spoken Language, Followed by an Observation of Aphemia (Loss of Speech) Paul Broca (1824-1880), Translated by Yosef Grodzinsky from "Remarques sur le Siége de la Faculté du Langage Articulé, Suivies d'une Observation d'aphémie (Perte de la Parole)," in Bulletin de la Société Anatomique de Paris (1861)
19. On Affections of Speech from Disease of the Brain John Hughlings-Jackson (1835-1911) From Brain, 1, 304-330 (1878)
20. On Aphasia Ludwig Lichtheim (1845-1928) From Brain: A Journal of Neurology (January 1885)
21. The division of the human cortex Korbinian Brodmann (1868-1918) From Contributions to a Histological Localization of the Cerebral Cortex, translated by Yosef Grodzinsky from Beiträge zur histologischen Lokalisation der Großhirnrinde. VI: Die Cortexgliederung des Menschen, in Journal für Psychologie und Neurologie X (6):231-246 (1908)
22. The Agrammatical Language Disturbance Arnold Pick (1854-1924), Translated by Yosef Grodzinsky from "Die agrammatischen Sprachstörungen," in Studien zur psychologischen Grundlegung der Aphasielehre (1913)
23. The Cytoarchitectonics of the Fields Constituting Broca's area L[othar?] Riegele, Translated by Yosef Grodzinsky from "Die Cytoarchitektonik der Felder der Broca'schen Region," in Journal für Psychologie und Neurologie, 42 (5), 496-514 (1931)
24. The Phonological Development of Child Language and Aphasia as a Linguistic Problem Roman Jakobson (1896-1982) From Fundamentals of Language [with Morris Halle] (Mouton Hague, 1956)
25. Grammatical Complexity and Aphasic Speech Harold Goodglass (1920-2002) and J. Hunt From Word, 14, 197-207 (1958)
26. The Organization of Language and the Brain Norman Geschwind (1926-1984)from Science (November 27, 1970)
27. 27. Broca's Area and Broca's Aphasia Jay P. Mohr (1937- ) from Studies in Neurolinguistics [Haiganoosh and Harry A. Whitaker, eds.] (Academic, 1979)

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