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Understanding words

When you listen to (or read) words, you are using a part of your brain known as Wernicke's area. It was named after the German doctor Carl Wernicke, who first realised that speaking and understanding words were controlled by different parts of the brain. He described patients who couldn't understand speech. Although they could speak words clearly, they made no sense. They had damage to the left temporal cortex of their brains.

Wernicke's area (arrowed) is needed to understand language.
Wernicke's area (arrowed) is needed to understand language.
Keith Johnson, Harvard University

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