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Angular gyrus

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The angular gyrus is a region of the brain lying mainly in

the anterolateral region of parietal lobe, that lies near the Angular gyrus
superior edge of the temporal lobe, and immediately
posterior to the supramarginal gyrus. Its significance is in
transferring visual information to Wernicke's area, in
order to make meaning out of visually perceived words.[1]
It is also involved in a number of processes related to
language, number processing and spatial cognition,
memory retrieval, attention, and theory of mind. It is
Brodmann area 39 of the human brain.

Angular gyrus
Contents Supramarginal gyrus
Broca's area
Wernicke's area
1 Anatomy
2 Function Primary auditory cortex

2.1 Language

2.2 Mathematics and Spatial Cognition

2.3 Attention
2.4 Other Functions

2.4.1 Default mode network

2.4.2 Awareness

2.4.3 Memory Retrieval

2.4.4 Out-of-body experiences

3 Clinical significance Drawing of a cast to illustrate the relations of the

brain to the skull. (Angular gyrus labeled at upper
4 Additional images
left, in yellow section.)
5 References Details
6 External links
Latin gyrus angularis
NeuroNames hier-91 (http://braininfo.rprc.washin
NeuroLex Angular Gyrus (http://www.neurolex.
ID org/wiki/birnlex_1376)
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splenium and isthmus of the corpus callosum.[2] Both gyri /Elsevier org/web/20071013131640/http://ww
lie between the four lobes.
Connections To the Angular gyrus uszSzcommonzSzdorlandszSzdorland
Connected To The Via the zSzdmd_g_13zPzhtm#12405109)
ispilateral frontal and audallateral longitudinal TA A14.1.09.124 (
prefrontal and inferior frontal regions
fasciculus.[3] aa/Public/EntryPage/TA98%20Tree/
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FMA 61898 (http://xiphoid.biostr.washingt
parahippocampal gyrus[5] and
hippocampus[4] fasciculus

occipitofrontal Anatomical terms of neuroanatomy

precuneus and superior frontal gyrus
fasciculus,[6] [edit on Wikidata]

supramarginal gyrus local arcuate[7]

The angular gyrus is the part of the brain associated with complex
language functions (i.e. reading, writing and interpretation of what is
written). Lesion to this part of the brain shows symptoms of the
Gerstmann syndrome: effects include finger tap agnosia, alexia
(inability to read), acalculia (inability to use arithmetic operations),
In this image, the angular gyrus is
agraphia (inability to copy), and left-right confusion.
denoted by the double asterisk **


Geschwind proposed that written word is translated to internal monologue via the angular gyrus.

V. S. Ramachandran, and Edward Hubbard published a paper in 2003 in which they speculated that the
angular gyrus is at least partially responsible for understanding metaphors. They stated:

There may be neurological disorders that disturb metaphor and synaesthesia.This has not been
studied in detail but we have seen disturbances in the Bouba/Kiki effect (Ramachandran &
Hubbard, 2001a) as well as with proverbs in patients with angular gyrus lesions. It would be
interesting to see whether they have deficits in other types of synaesthetic metaphor, e.g. sharp
cheese or loud shirt. There are also hints that patients with right hemisphere lesions show
problems with metaphor. It is possible that their deficits are mainly with spatial metaphors, such
as He stepped down as director.[8]

The fact that the angular gyrus is proportionately much larger in hominids than other primates, and its
strategic location at the crossroads of areas specialized for processing touch, hearing and vision, leads
Ramachandran to believe that it is critical both to conceptual metaphors and to cross-modal abstractions
more generally. However, recent research challenges this theory.

Research by Krish Sathian (Emory University) using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI)
suggests that the angular gyrus does not play a role in creating conceptual metaphors. Sathian theorizes that
conceptual metaphors activate the texture-selective somatosensory cortex in the parietal operculum.[9]

Mathematics and Spatial Cognition

Since 1919, brain injuries to the angular gyrus have been known to often cause arithmetic deficits.[10][11]
Functional imaging has shown that while other parts of the parietal lobe bilaterally are involved in
approximate calculations due to its link with spatiovisual abilities, the left angular gyrus together with left
Inferior frontal gyrus are involved in exact calculation due to verbal arithmetic fact retrieval.[12] When
activation in the left angular gyrus is greater, a person's arithmetic skills are also more competent.[13]


The right angular gyrus has been associated with spatiovisual attention toward salient features.[14][15] It may
allocate attention by employing a bottom-up strategy which draws on the area's ability to attend to retrieved
memories.[14] For example, the angular gyrus plays a critical role in distinguishing left from right, by
integrating conceptual understanding of the language term "left" or "right" with its location in space.[16]
Furthermore, the angular gyrus has been associated with orienting in three dimensional space, not because it
interprets space, but because it may control attention shifts in space.[17]

Other Functions

Default mode network

The angular gyrus is activated together with other brain regions when the mind is not engaged in an explicit
task and does not have an obvious goal (referred to as the default mode network).[18]


The angular gyrus reacts differently to intended and consequential movement.[19] This suggests that the
angular gyrus monitors the selfs intended movements, and uses the added information to compute
differently as it does for consequential movements. By recording the discrepancy, the angular gyrus
maintains an awareness of the self.

Memory Retrieval

Activation of the angular gyrus shows that not only does it mediate memory retrieval, but also it notes
contradictions between what is expected from the retrieval, and what is unusual.[2] The angular gyrus can
access both content and episodic memories, and is useful in inferring from these the intentions of human
characters.[14] Furthermore, the angular gyrus may use a feedback strategy to ascertain whether a retrieval is
expected or unusual.

Out-of-body experiences
Recent experiments have demonstrated the possibility that stimulation of the right angular gyrus is the cause
of out-of-body experiences.[20] Stimulation of the left angular gyrus in one experiment caused a woman to
perceive a shadowy person lurking behind her. The shadowy figure is actually a perceived double of the
self.[21] Another such experiment gave the test subject the sensation of being on the ceiling. This is
attributed to a discrepancy in the actual position of the body, and the mind's perceived location of the body.

Clinical significance
Damage to the angular gyrus manifests as Gerstmann syndrome. Damage may impair one or more of the
below functions.

1. Dysgraphia/agraphia: deficiency in the ability to write[22][23]

2. Dyscalculia/acalculia: difficulty in learning or comprehending mathematics[22][23]
3. Finger agnosia: inability to distinguish the fingers on the hand[22][23]
4. Left-right disorientation[22][23]

Additional images

Position of angular Lateral surface of left Lateral surface of left Lateral view of a human
gyrus (shown in red). cerebral hemisphere, cerebral hemisphere, brain, main gyri
viewed from above. viewed from the side. labeled.
Angular gyrus is shown Angular gyrus is shown
in orange. in orange.

Cerebrum. Lateral Cerebrum. Lateral Cerebrum. Lateral

view.Deep dissection. view.Deep dissection. view.Deep dissection.

1. John, Hall (2010). Guyton and Hall Textbook of Medical Physiology. Saunders. p. 699. ISBN 978-1416045748.
2. Park, HJ; Kim, JJ; Lee, SK; Seok, JH; Chun, J; Kim, DI; et al. (2008). "Corpus callosal connection mapping using
cortical gray matter parcellation and DT-MRI". Human Brain Mapp. 29 (5): 50316. doi:10.1002/hbm.20314.
PMID 17133394.
3. Makris, Nikos; Kennedy, David N.; McInerney, Sean; Sorensen, A. Gregory; Wang, Ruopeng; Verne, S. Caviness Jr;
Pandya, Deepak N. (2005). "Segmentation of Subcomponents within the Superior Longitudinal Fascicle in Humans:
A Quantitative, In Vivo, DT-MRI Study". Cereb. Cortex. 15 (6): 854869. doi:10.1093/cercor/bhh186.
PMID 15590909.
4. Uddin, Lucina Q.; Supekar, Kaustubh; Amin, Hitha; Rykhlevskaia, Elena; Nguyen, Daniel A.; Greicius, Michael D.;
Menon, Vinod (2010). "Dissociable Connectivity within Human Angular Gyrus and Intraparietal Sulcus: Evidence
from Functional and Structural Connectivity". Cereb. Cortex. 20 (11): 26362646. doi:10.1093/cercor/bhq011.
5. Rushworth, MF; Behrens, TE; Johansen-Berg, H (2006). "Connection patterns distinguish 3 regions of human
parietal cortex". Cereb Cortex. 16: 14181430. doi:10.1093/cercor/bhj079.
6. Makris, Nikos; Papadimitriou, George M.; Sorg, Scott; Kennedy, David N.; Caviness, Verne S.; Pandya, Deepak N.
(2007). "The occipitofrontal fascicle in humans: A quantitative, in vivo, DT-MRI study". NeuroImage. 37 (4): 1100
1111. doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2007.05.042. PMC 3769215 . PMID 17681797.
7. Lee, H; Devlin, JT; Shakeshaft, C; Stewart, LH; Brennan, A; Glensman, J; Pitcher, K; Crinion, J; Mechelli, A;
Frackowiak, RS; Green, DW; Price, CJ (2007). "Anatomical traces of vocabulary acquisition in the adolescent
brain". J Neurosci. 27: 11841189. doi:10.1523/jneurosci.4442-06.2007. PMID 17267574.
8. Ramachandran, V.S.; Hubbard, E.M (2003). "The Phenomenology of Synaesthesia" (PDF). Journal of Consciousness
Studies. 10 (8): 4957.
9. Simon, K; Stilla, R; Sathian, K (2011). "Metaphorically feeling:Comprehending textual metaphros actives
somatosensory cortex". Brain and Language. 120: 416421. doi:10.1016/j.bandl.2011.12.016.
10. Henschen, SL (1919). "On language, music and calculation mechanisms and their localisation in the cerebrum".
Zeitschrift fr die gesamte Neurologie und Psychiatrie. 52: 273298. doi:10.1007/bf02872428.
11. Gerstmann, J (1940). "Syndrome of finger agnosia, disorientation for right and left, agraphia and acalculiaLocal
diagnostic value". Arch Neurol Psychiatry. 44: 398408. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1940.02280080158009.
12. Dehaene, S; Spelke, E; Pinel, P; Stanescu, R; Tsivkin, S (1999). "Sources of mathematical thinking: behavioral and
brain-imaging evidence". Science. 284 (5416): 9704. doi:10.1126/science.284.5416.970. PMID 10320379.
13. Grabner, RH; Ansari, D; Reishofer, G; Stern, E; Ebner, F; Neuper, C (2007). "Individual differences in mathematical
competence predict parietal brain activation during mental calculation". NeuroImage. 38 (2): 34656.
doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2007.07.041. PMID 17851092.
14. Seghier, M. L. (2012). "The angular gyrus: multiple function ad multiple subdivisions". Neuroscientist. 19: 4361.
doi:10.1177/1073858412440596. PMID 22547530.
15. Arsalidou, M; Taylor, MJ (2011). "Is 2+2=4? Meta-analyses of brain areas needed for numbers and calculations".
NeuroImage. 54 (3): 238293. doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2010.10.009. PMID 20946958.
16. Hirnstein, M; Bayer, U; Ellison, A; Hausmann, M (2011). "TMS over the left angular gyrus impairs the ability to
discriminate left from right". Neuropsychologia. 49 (1): 2933. doi:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2010.10.028.
PMID 21035475.
17. Chen, Q; Weidner, R; Vossel, S; Weiss, PH; Fink, GR (Sep 2012). "Neural mechanisms of attentional reorienting in
three-dimensional space". J Neurosci. 32 (39): 1335262. doi:10.1523/jneurosci.1772-12.2012. PMID 23015426.
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PMC 140943 . PMID 12506194.
19. Farrer C, Frey SH, Van Horn JD, Tunik E, Turk D, Inati S, Grafton ST. The angular gyrus computes action
awareness representations. Centre de Neuroscience Cognitive.
20. Out-of-Body Experience? Your Brain Is to Blame - New York Times (
21. Arzy, S.; Seeck, M.; Ortigue, S.; Spinelli, L.; Blanke, O. (2006). "Induction of an illusory shadow person:
Stimulation of a site on the brain's left hemisphere prompts the creepy feeling that somebody is close by.". Nature.
443 (21): 287. doi:10.1038/443287a. PMID 16988702.
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syndrome". Eur. Neurol. 52 (1): 16. doi:10.1159/000079251. PMID 15218337.
External links
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