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What Is the Temporal Lobe?

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Temporal Lobe

The temporal lobe is highlighted in yellow in this image.

John A Beal, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center Shreveport
Question: What Is the Temporal Lobe?
Answer:

The temporal lobe is one of the four lobes of the brain. This lobe is part of the cerebral cortex located on the lower side of each cerebral hemisphere. The location of the temporal lobe is highlighted in yellow in the image at the right.

The temporal lobe is associated with a number of different functions, including auditory perception, long-term memory and emotional responses. The hippocampus, the area of the brain involved in consolidating information from short-term memory into long-term memory, is located in the temporal lobe.

Damage to the Temporal Lobe

Researchers have found eight major symptoms associated with damage to the temporal lobe:

  1. Problems with auditory sensation and perception
  2. Difficulty attending to auditory and visual stimuli
  3. Visual perception disorders
  4. Problems organizing and categorizing verbal materials
  5. Language comprehension problems
  6. Impaired long-term memory
  7. Changes in affective behavior and personality
  8. Changes in sexual behavior

The location of the damage to the temporal lobe is linked to the type of impairment the individual experiences. For example, damage to the left temporal lobe can result in difficulty recognizing words while damage to the right temporal lobe can result in a lack on inhibition when talking.

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References:

Kolb, B., & Whishaw, I. (1990). Fundamentals of Human Neuropsychology. W.H. Freeman and Co., New York.

Milner, B. (1968). Visual recognition and recall after right temporal lobe excision in man. Neuropsychologia, 6:191-209.

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