Anatomical Asymmetries Versus Variability of Language Areas of the Brain

O. Selnes, H. A. Whitaker

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The volume and morphological features of the human cerebral cortex vary significantly among individuals. Current neuroimaging techniques such as magnetic resonance imaging and diffusion tensor imaging allow precise measurements of both gray and white matter volumes in neurologically normal subjects, and thus avoid the biases of previous autopsy-based studies. The functional significance of the anatomical variability of the brain remains unknown. There are also well-documented anatomical asymmetries between the left and right hemispheres of the brain. Some areas that are thought to be relevant for language processing, including the planum temporale of the superior temporal lobe, have been shown to be larger in the left hemisphere and therefore thought to be possible anatomical markers of cerebral language dominance. Recent findings of similar asymmetries in nonhuman primates do not support this interpretation, however.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Language & Linguistics
PublisherElsevier Ltd
Number of pages5
ISBN (Print)9780080448541
StatePublished - Dec 1 2006


  • Anatomy
  • Asymmetry
  • Brain
  • Brain Size
  • Brain Weight
  • Broca's Area
  • Cerebral Dominance
  • Laterality
  • Planum Temporale
  • Wernicke's Area

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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