Published on December 18, 2018 | Updated on January 29, 2019

CORTEX conference by William Hopkins

January 29th, 2016

Neural basis of socio-communicative capacities of chimpanzees

Language and speech are strongly lateralized human traits.  That is to say, most humans show a left hemisphere specialization in the processing and production of spoken and manual language systems.  Two key brain regions involved in human language and speech are Wernicke’s (left posterior superior temporal gyrus) and Broca’s area, situated in the left inferior frontal gyrus. Recent comparative studies have shown that Wernicke’s and Broca’s areas can be morphologically and cytoarchitectonically in great apes, notably chimpanzees and bonobos.  This presentation reviews the available data on the morphological, cytoarchitectonic and cortical connectivity of Broca’s and Wernicke’s area in the chimpanzee brain.  The paper also summarizes the behavioral and cognitive correlates of individual differences in the morphology and connectivity in Broca’s and Wernicke’s area.  Collectively, the data are presented within the context of theories of language evolution and the brain.