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Parts of the Brain That Control Vocal & Motor Skills

By Noreen Kassem ; Updated June 13, 2017
Certain areas of the brain control speech and movement.

The brain is the control center for most of the body, receiving and processing signals in the body. While it is the source of intellectual activity, its functions also include interpreting senses, initiating body movement, coordinating motion and balance, and controlling behavior and the ability to speak. Motor skills include both voluntary and involuntary movement in smooth and skeletal muscles. Vocal skills, such as speaking, organizing sentence structure, comprehending and remembering words, come from several general and specific areas of the brain.

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The Cerebrum

The cerebrum is the largest and the most prominent part of the brain. It sits at the top of the brain and is the area where intellectual activities originate. The cerebrum is split longitudinally into a left and right hemisphere. Both hemispheres communicate with each other through a tract of nerve fibers. The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke notes that the functions of the cerebrum include processing and holding memories, enabling planning, imagination and thinking. The vocal ability to form words primarily comes from the left hemisphere of the cerebrum, while the right hemisphere controls abstract reasoning skills that help to structure verbal thought in the form of speech.

The Frontal Lobe

The cerebral hemispheres and other areas of the brain are divided into lobes or sections. The Newark University Hospital notes that there are four main lobes, and the frontal lobe is the area of the cerebrum that is at the front of the brain directly behind the forehead. It is responsible for skilled voluntary muscle movements, as well as other complicated processes.

The Temporal Lobe

The temporal lobe is located on either side of the brain just above the ear. They contain brain centers for hearings, smell, sorting information and short-term memory. According to the Center for Neuroskills, the right lobe is mainly responsible for visual memory such as remembering familiar faces and images. The left lobe is an important center for verbal memory and recalling words and names.

Wernicke's Area

Wernicke’s area is located above the temporal lobes and is the primary center for speech in the brain. The brain cells in this area assist in speech comprehension, or understanding spoken words, when listening and speaking, explains The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

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About the Author

Noreen Kassem is a hospital doctor and a medical writer. Her articles have been featured in "Women's Health," "Nutrition News," "Check Up" and "Alive Magazine." Kassem also covers travel, books, fitness, nutrition, cooking and green living.

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