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The Function of the Temporal Lobe

Updated: Aug 25, 2022

The main reason I started my research blog was to spread awareness about the brain and what damage to the brain can do to you. 


The Temporal Lobe


In this blog post I aim to tell you:


  • Where the Temporal Lobe is located

  • What the Temporal Lobe is responsible for

  • What damage to the Temporal Lobe could do to you




The brain is an extremely complex structure with many different regions, structures and pathways. To make the brain a bit easier to understand, it is split into 4 different lobes; the frontal lobe, temporal lobe, occipital lobe and the parietal lobe. 


The first lobe I covered in my blog was the frontal lobe, if you haven’t read it yet, give it a read (https://www.theneuropt.co.uk/post/the-function-of-the-frontal-lobe). But for now, let’s get cracking with the temporal lobe! 


Position of the Temporal Lobe


The temporal lobe is located at the bottom of the brain and sits close to the ear. In relation to other brain structures, it is just above the brain stem and cerebellum (see picture below). 







Areas in the Temporal Lobe


The temporal lobe contains the primary auditory cortex which is responsible for processing noise coming in from your ears. Other main regions of the temporal lobe include, Wernicke’s area, Broca’s area and the Limbic system. 


Wernicke’s area is responsible for processing speech and also giving meaning to it. 





Broca’s area is responsible for our speech and making it fluent. Broca’s aphasia is quite common in those who have suffered a brain injury, making it harder for them to speak concisely. 





The Limbic system is involved with emotion, learning, motivation and memory - many important processes! The Limbic system includes the hippocampus and the amygdala, which are integral to learning, memory and attention. 





A fun little fact about the temporal lobe is that the temporal lobe is only found in the brains of primates! Great we have a temporal lobe! But what does it do? 


Functions of the Temporal Lobe


Well, Kiernan (2011) conducted research into the functions of the temporal lobe and suggested that the temporal lobe contains structures that are heavily involved in audio, olfactory (smell), vestibular (balance), visual and linguistic (language) functions.

 

Medical News Today writes that the temporal lobe is concerned with auditory and visual information but also emotional information. Medical News Today goes on to suggest that the temporal lobe is involved in creating and preserving conscious and long-term memory (Medicalnewstoday). 


Squire, Shark and Clarke (2004) also found that the temporal lobe plays a role in conscious memory. 


Squire, Shark and Clarke, more specifically, suggested after looking into humans with memory impairments, that the Medial Temporal Lobe (a temporal lobe structure) consists of systems that are involved in memory. Not only this but the Medial Temporal Lobe seems to interact with other parts of the brain to establish and maintain long-term memory as well. 


Damage to the Temporal Lobe


From the articles and research discussed, damage to the temporal lobe could lead to a variation of problems including: 

  • Production and understanding of speech/language  

  • Maintaining attention 

  • Processing what you see 

  • Processing what you hear 

  • Meaningful processing of words 

  • Problems with automatic states such as sexual arousal, appetite and the stress response 

  • Difficulty learning 

  • Keeping motivated 


Spreading awareness about damage to the brain is very important. Damage can occur from the slightest bang to your head. 


This blog post discusses just ONE lobe out of four that make up our brain. If just one lobe is responsible for all of these important processes, imagine what all four together are responsible for… Well EVERYTHING! 


Take home message: Look after your brain and do things that stimulate it! 

2 Comments


Unknown member
Jul 19, 2022

Wow! I think I would be scared if I damaged my frontal lobe and the other 3 parts! Oh, hang on, that was me 🤣😂, Ollie, I owe you my life from the work you did with me for years. It may be remarkable my improvement from the severity of my injury but without your work in my rehabilitation I would not be enjoying life as much as I can today. From my family and I, I salute you.

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TheNeuroPT
TheNeuroPT
Jul 20, 2022
Replying to

Hi Jez! And look how far you have come! That’s not down to me, it’s down to you. It’s unbelievable! I wonder where you’ll be next year? Doing sprints with me along the seafront? 100m in 10 seconds? Jez Stevens

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