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Temporal Lobe

Quick facts:

  1. Location: Bottom middle part of cortex, right behind the temples. It sits below the frontal lobe and parietal lobe, in front of the occipital lobe, and above the cerebellum
  2. Function: Responsible for processing auditory information from the ears (hearing)

Temporal Lobe

The Temporal Lobe is the second largest lobe of the human brain after the frontal lobe. It’s functions mainly revolve around hearing and selective listening, as well as encoding memory.

The temporal lobe receives sensory information such as sounds and speech from the ears. It is also key to being able to comprehend, or understand meaningful speech. In fact, we would not be able to understand someone talking to us, if it wasn’t for the temporal lobe. This lobe is special because it makes sense of the all the different sounds and pitches (different types of sound) being transmitted from the sensory receptors of the ears.

The temporal lobe and memory

Because the temporal lobe is associated with the formation and storage of memories, it’s also believed to play an important role in our emotions, language, and visual perception.

Since language cognitive functions and the processing of verbal information are largely on the left side of the brain, the left temporal lobe tends to be more dominant than the right side. The right side of the temporal lobe is responsible for memory, learning, and remembering information that’s not verbal, such as visual or auditory music.

What happens if the temporal lobe is damaged?

If you experience trauma to the temporal lobe, it’s possible to experience these effects:

  • An inability or difficulty in understanding spoken language
  • An inability to concentrate or pay attention to things we hear and see
  • Struggles to categorize and identify objects in an environment
  • Retaining new information is difficult
  • An inability to learn and retain long-term memories about facts
  • An inability or difficulty with recognizing and remembering faces