The Brain and Writing: Which Part of the Brain Controls Writing?


Writing is a complex cognitive skill that involves various processes in the brain. In this article, we will explore the different parts of the brain responsible for controlling writing and how they work together to produce written language. Understanding the neural mechanisms involved in writing can provide valuable insights into language acquisition, literacy, and potential interventions for individuals with writing difficulties.

The Role of the Left Hemisphere

The left hemisphere of the brain is primarily responsible for language processing and is typically dominant in right-handed individuals. Within the left hemisphere, several key regions play a crucial role in writing:

Broca’s Area

Broca’s area, located in the frontal lobe of the left hemisphere, is involved in the production of speech and written language. This region coordinates the movements of the muscles involved in articulation and helps generate grammatically correct sentences. Damage to Broca’s area can result in a condition called Broca’s aphasia, characterized by difficulties in producing coherent speech and writing.

Wernicke’s Area

Wernicke’s area, situated in the temporal lobe of the left hemisphere, is responsible for language comprehension. While it primarily affects spoken language, it also plays a role in understanding written language. Damage to Wernicke’s area can result in Wernicke’s aphasia, where individuals have difficulty understanding and producing meaningful language.

Angular Gyrus

The angular gyrus, located in the parietal lobe of the left hemisphere, is involved in various language-related processes, including reading and writing. It plays a crucial role in transforming visual symbols into meaningful representations of language. Damage to the angular gyrus can lead to a condition known as alexia, where individuals have difficulty reading, as well as agraphia, which impairs their ability to write.

The Motor Cortex and Writing

The motor cortex, located in the frontal lobe of both hemispheres, is responsible for executing voluntary movements. When it comes to writing, the motor cortex controls the fine motor movements necessary for manipulating a pen or pencil to produce written language. Specifically, the primary motor cortex, which is located in the precentral gyrus, is responsible for controlling the muscles involved in hand and finger movements during writing.

Michael Gurian on Brain Development and Writing

Integration of Language and Motor Systems

Writing involves the seamless integration of language processing and motor control systems in the brain. The connection between these systems is facilitated by a bundle of nerve fibers called the arcuate fasciculus, which connects Broca’s area and Wernicke’s area. This pathway allows for the transfer of information between language comprehension and production regions, enabling the translation of thoughts into written form.

The Role of Memory and Attention

In addition to the specific brain regions involved in writing, memory and attention also play crucial roles. Working memory, which involves the temporary storage and manipulation of information, is essential for organizing thoughts and structuring written language. Attention, on the other hand, ensures that relevant information is attended to while filtering out distractions.

Working Memory

The prefrontal cortex, located in the frontal lobe, is responsible for working memory. This region allows us to hold and manipulate information in our minds while writing, such as remembering the main points of an argument or structuring a paragraph. Dysfunction in the prefrontal cortex can lead to difficulties in organizing thoughts and maintaining coherence in writing.


The frontal and parietal lobes of the brain are involved in attention control. These regions help us focus on the task at hand and filter out irrelevant information. Attention deficits can make it challenging to maintain concentration during writing and may result in errors or inconsistencies in the written language.


Writing is a complex process that involves the coordination of various brain regions and cognitive functions. The left hemisphere, particularly Broca’s area, Wernicke’s area, and the angular gyrus, plays a crucial role in language processing and written language comprehension. The motor cortex, specifically the primary motor cortex, controls the fine motor movements necessary for writing. Integration between language and motor systems is facilitated by the arcuate fasciculus. Memory and attention, mediated by the prefrontal cortex and frontal-parietal regions, respectively, also contribute to successful writing. Understanding the neural mechanisms behind writing can provide valuable insights into language disorders and potential interventions to improve writing skills.

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