Research

The larynx-phonation area is the primary motor region controlling the larynx and vocalization. This area is not found un non-human primates and grants humans a degree of control over the larynx —colloquially known as the voice box— that is unparalleled among mammals. Gaining flexible control over the larynx was a key step towards the evolution of language and speech.

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The subcentral gyrus acts as a second motor controlling centre for the larynx. How these two larynx areas communicate to jointly control the vocal organ remains a fundamental mystery. Furthermore, it remains unclear how two larynx-motor areas have evolved in the human brain from a non-human primate precursor that contains only one.

The inferior frontal gyrus pars orbitalis is a key area for understanding the emotional tone in other peoples’ voices. However, it may actually be critical for perceiving emotion in not only the voice, but also music, facial expressions and body language.

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