Connection lost. Please refresh the page.
Get help How to study Login Register
Ready to learn?
Pick your favorite study tool

Brodmann areas

Recommended video: Brodmann areas [16:16]
The cerebral cortex is divided into 52 regions according to its cytoarchitecture.

Originally defined and numbered into 52 regions by the German anatomist Korbinian Brodmann in the early 1900’s, the Brodmann areas of the cerebral cortex are defined by its cytoarchitecture (histological structure and cellular organization).

It is important to remember that the same Brodmann area numbers in humans and primates often do not translate to other species. In addition, these Brodmann areas have been widely redefined, discussed, debated, and refined exhaustively based on cytoarchitecture, cortical functions, and brain plasticity.

Key facts about Brodmann areas
Areas 1, 2, 3 Primary somatosensory cortex (postcentral gyrus)
Area 4 Primary motor cortex (precentral gyrus)
Area 5 Somatosensory association cortex
Area 6 Premotor and supplementary motor cortex
Area 9 Dorsolateral/anterior prefrontal cortex (motor planning, and organization)
Area 10 Anterior prefrontal cortex (memory retrieval)
Area 17 Primary visual cortex
Area 22 Primary auditory cortex
Area 37 Occipitotemporal (fusiform) gyrus
Areas 22, 39, 40 Wernicke's area (language comprehension)
Areas 44, 45 Broca's area (motor speech programming)

This article will discuss the Brodmann areas and their function.

  1. Anatomical basis
  2. Important Brodmann areas
    1. Areas 1,2,3
    2. Area 4
    3. Area 5
    4. Area 6
    5. Area 9
    6. Area 10
    7. Area 17
    8. Area 22
    9. Area 37
    10. Areas 22, 39, 40
    11. Areas 44,45
  3. All Brodmann areas
  4. Lesions of Brodmann areas
    1. Areas 1,2,3
    2. Area 4
    3. Area 5
    4. Area 6
    5. Area 9
    6. Area 10
    7. Area 17
    8. Area 22
    9. Areas 22, 39, 40
    10. Areas 44, 45
  5. Sources
+ Show all

Anatomical basis

The Brodmann areas were initially based on the cytoarchitectural organization of neurons in the cerebral cortex.

Specifically, it was observed that they were organized in distinct groups once the cells were stained using the Nissl method (which consists of basic dyes, notably staining the rough endoplasmic reticulum—also known as Nissl substance—dark blue). Many of these areas of distinct neuronal organization have since been correlated to various cortical functions.

Since there are 52 distinct Brodmann regions, only a few of the major regions will be further elaborated in this article. However, a list of all areas defined can be found below for reference.

Neuroanatomy is big topic, so it's important to start with a solid foundation. Have you already mastered the basics? Our free diagrams and quizzes on the parts of the brain are a great place to get started. 

Important Brodmann areas

Areas 1,2,3

Primary somatosensory cortex (or Postcentral gyrus) – this is numbered rostral to caudal as 3,1,2. This region is associated with several senses, such as the ones for:

  • localization of touch, temperature, vibration, pain
  • sensory perception (two-point discrimination, proprioception, etc.) especially the legs, trunk, arms, hands, face and lips
  • skilled and coordinated orofacial movement (i.e. whistling)
  • motor learning

Area 4

This are is also known as the primary motor cortex (or Precentral gyrus) (may possibly include part of Area 6). It is responsible for executing motor movements, which includes contralateral finger/hand/wrist or orofacial movements, learned motor sequences, breathing control, and voluntary blinking.

Precentral gyrus (cross section)

Area 5

Somatosensory association cortex – Brodmann area 5 is part of the parietal cortex. Associated functions include:

  • stereopsis
  • line bisection judgments
  • processing chaotic patterns
  • using spatial imagery in deductive reasoning
  • motor execution
  • bimanual manipulation
  • working memory
  • language processing
  • visuomotor attention
  • pain perception
  • tactile localization
  • saccadic eye movement 

Area 6

Premotor and Supplementary Motor Cortex – this region is critical for the sensory guidance of movement and control of proximal and trunk muscles, and contributes to the planning of complex and coordinated motor movements. This area plays a large role in motor, language, and memory functions, including:

  • motor sequencing/planning
  • laughter/smiling
  • interlimb coordination
  • movement learning and initiation
  • motor imagery
  • speech motor programming
  • language processing and switching
  • speech perception
  • object naming
  • lip-reading
  • word retrieval
  • lexical decision on words and pseudowords
  • syntactical processing
  • working memory
  • mnemonic rehearsal
  • episodic long-term memory
  • topographic memory
  • visuospatial and visuomotor attention
  • attention to human voices

Note: The “Motor Association Cortex” includes areas 6, 8, 44, and 45. This association cortex is involved in movement throughout the body, including motor speech movements.

Area 9

Dorsolateral/anterior prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) – This region is the highest cortical area responsible for motor planning, organization, and regulation, and sustaining attention and working memory. The DLPFC plays an important role in:

  • integrating sensory and mnemonic information
  • regulation of intellectual function and action
  • the act of deception and lying

In sum, all complex mental activities require crosstalk between cortical and subcortical circuits that are connected to the DLPFC.

Area 10

Anterior prefrontal cortex – involved in strategic processes of memory retrieval and executive functions, such as

  • reasoning
  • task flexibility
  • problem solving
  • planning
  • execution
  • working memory
  • processing emotional stimuli
  • inferential reasoning
  • decision making
  • calculation of numerical processes

There is a significant role of Areas 9 and 10 in memory encoding and retrieval, and area 10 is thought to control and manipulate event and time-based prospective memory (metamemory), and allow “intentional forgetting.”

Area 10 is also involved in attending to sensory stimulation and use of language (generating sentences, word-stem completion, verbal fluency, syntactic processing, and metaphor comprehension).

Area 17

Primary visual cortex (V1) – the visual cortex is located in the occipital lobe in the back of the brain, and contains a well-defined map of the spatial information required for vision.

Area 22

Primary auditory cortex / Superior Temporal Gyrus (part of Wernicke’s area) – this region is situated close to the external ear and involves complex language and auditory processing.

Area 37

Fusiform Gyrus / Occipitotemporal Gyrus – this region is largely involved in:

  • processing of color information
  • face and body recognition
  • word and number recognition

Areas 22, 39, 40

Wernicke’s area – the gyri that comprise this area may be larger or smaller in different people and itis responsible for speech fluency. More precisely, this area allows you to string words together in complete and sensical sentences. An easy way to temember is to think of “Wordy Wernicke”.

Areas 44,45

Broca’s area – this region is associated with the praxis of speech (motor speech programming). This includes:

  • being able to put together the binding elements of language
  • selecting information among competing sources
  • sequencing motor/expressive elements
  • cognitive control mechanisms for syntactic processing of sentences
  • construction of complex sentences and speech patterns

You can remember it by thinking of “Broken boca” where boca means ‘mouth’ in Spanish.

All Brodmann areas

  • Areas 3, 1 & 2 – Primary Somatosensory Cortex (frequently referred to as Areas 3, 1, 2 by convention)
  • Area 4 – Primary Motor Cortex
  • Area 5 – Somatosensory Association Cortex
  • Area 6 – Premotor cortex and Supplementary Motor Cortex (Secondary Motor Cortex) (Supplementary motor area)
  • Area 7 – Somatosensory Association Cortex
  • Area 8 – Includes Frontal eye fields
  • Area 9 – Dorsolateral prefrontal cortex
  • Area 10 – Anterior prefrontal cortex (most rostral part of superior and middle frontal gyri)
  • Area 11 – Orbitofrontal area (orbital and rectus gyri, plus part of the rostral part of the superior frontal gyrus)
  • Area 12 – Orbitofrontal area (used to be part of BA11, refers to the area between the superior frontal gyrus and the inferior rostral sulcus)
  • Area 13 and Area 14* – Insular cortex
  • Area 15* – Anterior Temporal Lobe
  • Area 16 – Insular cortex
  • Area 17 – Primary visual cortex (V1)
  • Area 18 – Secondary visual cortex (V2)
  • Area 19 – Associative visual cortex (V3,V4,V5)
  • Area 20 – Inferior temporal gyrus
  • Area 21 – Middle temporal gyrus
  • Area 22 – Superior temporal gyrus, of which the caudal part is usually considered to contain the Wernicke's area
  • Area 23 – Ventral posterior cingulate cortex
  • Area 24 – Ventral anterior cingulate cortex.
  • Area 25 – Subgenual area (part of the Ventromedial prefrontal cortex)[4]
  • Area 26 – Ectosplenial portion of the retrosplenial region of the cerebral cortex
  • Area 27 – Piriform cortex
  • Area 28 – Ventral entorhinal cortex
  • Area 29 – Retrosplenial cingulate cortex
  • Area 30 – Part of cingulate cortex
  • Area 31 – Dorsal Posterior cingulate cortex
  • Area 32 – Dorsal anterior cingulate cortex
  • Area 33 – Part of anterior cingulate cortex
  • Area 34 – Dorsal entorhinal cortex (on the Parahippocampal gyrus)
  • Area 35 – Perirhinal cortex (in the rhinal sulcus)
  • Area 36 – Ectorhinal area, now part of the perirhinal cortex (in the rhinal sulcus)
  • Area 37 – Fusiform gyrus
  • Area 38 – Temporopolar area (most rostral part of the superior and middle temporal gyri)
  • Area 39 – Angular gyrus, considered by some to be part of Wernicke's area
  • Area 40 – Supramarginal gyrus considered by some to be part of Wernicke's area
  • Areas 41 and 42 – Auditory cortex
  • Area 43 – Primary gustatory cortex
  • Area 44 – Pars opercularis, part of the inferior frontal gyrus and part of Broca's area
  • Area 45 – Pars triangularis, part of the inferior frontal gyrus and part of Broca's area
  • Area 46 – Dorsolateral prefrontal cortex
  • Area 47 – Pars orbitalis, part of the inferior frontal gyrus
  • Area 48 – Retrosubicular area (a small part of the medial surface of the temporal lobe)
  • Area 49 – Parasubicular area in a rodent
  • Area 52 – Parainsular area (at the junction of the temporal lobe and the insula)

(*) Area only found in non-human primates.

Dive into our Brodmann area quiz and test your knowledge!

Brodmann areas: want to learn more about it?

Our engaging videos, interactive quizzes, in-depth articles and HD atlas are here to get you top results faster.

What do you prefer to learn with?

“I would honestly say that Kenhub cut my study time in half.” – Read more.

Kim Bengochea Kim Bengochea, Regis University, Denver
© Unless stated otherwise, all content, including illustrations are exclusive property of Kenhub GmbH, and are protected by German and international copyright laws. All rights reserved.

Register now and grab your free ultimate anatomy study guide!