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
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
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!