Foundations Of Cognitive Science

Broca's Area

Named for Paul Broca who first described it in 1861, Broca's area is the section of the brain which is involved in speech production, specifically assessing syntax of words while listening, and comprehending structural complexity. People suffering from neurophysiological damage to this area (called Broca's aphasia or nonfluent aphasia) are unable to understand and make grammatically complex sentences. Speech will consist almost entirely of content words.

Auditory and speech information is transported from the auditory area to Wernicke's area for evaluation of significance of content words, then to Broca's area for analysis of syntax. In speech production, content words are selected by neural systems in Wernicke's area, grammatical refinements are added by neural systems in Broca's area, and then the information is sent to the motor cortex, which sets up the muscle movements for speaking.


  1. Gray, Peter. (1994). Psychology. New York, NY: Worth Publishing