MCAT Social and Behavioral Sciences : Physiology of Language and the Brain

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for MCAT Social and Behavioral Sciences

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133 Practice Tests Question of the Day Flashcards Learn by Concept

Example Questions

Example Question #3 : Speech And Language

What area of the brain is most closely correlated with production of speech?

Possible Answers:

Corpus callosum

Amygdala

Pons

Broca's area

Correct answer:

Broca's area

Explanation:

"Broca's area," a small region of the posteriolateral frontal lobe, is responsible for the production of speech. Deficiencies in this area are associated with normal comprehension of words, syntax, and grammar, but an inability to form words for personal expression.

The other choices are incorrect. The "pons" is a part of the brainstem and not involved in language production. The "amygdala" is a part of the limbic system, while the the "corpus callosum" is a wide, flat bundle of neural fibers that connects the left and right hemispheres of the brain.

 

Example Question #4 : Speech And Language

An individual comes into a clinic after a minor stroke. His family states that since his stroke he has begun to speak in nonsense. His word choice seems random, with nouns and verbs that are unrelated, and bizarre syntax and grammar. He also does not seem to be able to understand when he is addressed directly. His affect has not changed, nor has his basic motor coordination.

He likely suffered injury to which of the following areas of the brain? 

Possible Answers:

Cerebellum

Wernicke's area

Broca's area

Substantia nigra

Correct answer:

Wernicke's area

Explanation:

This individual most likely experienced injury to "Wernicke's area," the part of the brain that is responsible for language comprehension. Damage to this area can result in difficulty understanding speech, and while the ability to produce language may be unaffected, speech is often disordered, non-sensical, or interspersed with inappropriate words or phrases. This is known as Wernicke's aphasia.

The other choices are incorrect. Damage to "Broca's area" would result in impairment with producing words (i.e. getting the words out), with no effect on comprehension. Injury to the "cerebellum" may result in balance or physical coordination issues, while destruction of the "substantia nigra" is typically seen in Parkinson's disease.

All MCAT Social and Behavioral Sciences Resources

133 Practice Tests Question of the Day Flashcards Learn by Concept
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