Language, hearing, memories of sound, object recognition The temporal lobe is important for comprehending sound, language, and the visual world. Here we find the primary auditory cortex, as well as one of the major language areas of the
brain—Wernicke’s area. These areas are usually lateralized to the left hemisphere. Wernicke’s area, discovered by German physician Carl Wernicke (1848-1905), is linked to understanding language, while Broca’s area in the lower midfrontal lobe is related to producing language (Finger 1994, pp. 379-380). Broca discovered his area in 1861, and Wernicke discovered his in 1874. Wernicke’s discovery convinced people that Broca’s area was not the only speech center in the brain. Wernicke’s area has been thought to command Broca’s area to take care of the motor processing involved with producing language expressions (speech or writing). This commanding is thought to take place via the arcuate fasciculus tract, connecting the temporal and frontal lobes. Recent research has put this model into doubt, indicating that the story is more complicated.
Another temporal structure is the fusiform gyrus, associated with color processing, face recognition, language processing, and recognizing words and numbers. At a more general level, research suggests the fusiform gyrus engages in proficiently categorizing objects, depending on experience (Gauthier et al. 1999). The temporal lobe is also involved in memory formation through the hippocampus (see the section “Limbic System” later in this chapter).