Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Short Communication

Speech and gesture are mediated by independent systems

Anna M. Barrett a1, Anne L. Foundas a2 and Kenneth M. Heilman a3
a1 Department of Neurology and Neural and Behavioral Sciences, Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine, Hershey, PA 17033
a2 Department of Psychiatry and Neurology, Tulane University School of Medicine and the Veterans Affairs Medical Center, New Orleans, LA 70115
a3 College of Medicine, Gainesville, FL 32610; North Florida South Georgia Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Gainesville, FL 32610


Arbib suggests that language emerged in direct relation to manual gestural communication, that Broca's area participates in producing and imitating gestures, and that emotional facial expressions contributed to gesture-language coevolution. We discuss functional and structural evidence supporting localization of the neuronal modules controlling limb praxis, speech and language, and emotional communication. Current evidence supports completely independent limb praxis and speech/language systems.