What is the Temporal Lobe Responsible for?

What is the Temporal Lobe Responsible for

What is the Temporal Lobe Responsible for

What is the temporal lobe responsible for?

One of the complex and most important parts of a human body is the brain. The brain consists of not millions but billions of neurons, which make them the most complex organ of the human body. There are so many neurons that are in the human brain that it is impossible to identify the exact purpose of each neuron.

The brain is oddly shaped; the shape may vary from one living being to the other. To know the proper and in-depth detail about the anatomy of a human brain, one has to dissect the human brain and understand the intricacies of this magical organ.

Structure of the Human Brain

The human brain is so complex that it is impossible to teach about a human brain theoretically. The human brain is divided into lobes for better handling of the functions. There are four lobes in the human brain. They are the following:

  • The frontal lobe, the largest lobe of the four lobes which makes up one-third of the human brain
  • The temporal lobe, which is situated in the middle cranial fossa
  • The parietal lobe, which is situated between the frontal lobe and occipital lobe
  • The occipital lobe, which is situated at the rear end of the brain

The parietal lobe is the lobe that is surrounded by all the lobes. The temporal lobe is the second-largest lobe in the four lobes. It has a lot of functions that help in the smooth functioning of the human body without any hindrance.

In the following paragraphs, we will get to know about the different functions of the temporal lobes. We will also understand a little about the structure of the temporal lobe and the organs that constitute this lobe.

Temporal Lobe and the Functions that it is Responsible for

The temporal lobe, as discussed above, is the second-largest lobe of all the four lobes in the human brain. It makes up almost 22% of the total neocortical volume. The neocortical volume is nothing but the neocortex, the top layer of cerebral hemispheres.

It is around 2 to 4mm thick. This neocortex amounts to almost 76% of the human brain volume. Therefore, the temporal lobe is almost 16.72% of the entire human brain. That does signify the importance of this lobe, doesn’t it?

A Brief Overview of the Temporal Lobe

The temporal lobe is situated just behind the human ears and extends from the left to the right side of the human brain. It is responsible for processing sensory input, retention of visual memory, language comprehension and emotional association.

These are some of the primary functions. However, there are many other ancillary actions that this lobe performs such as vision, language, and comprehension.

Parts of the Temporal Lobe

The temporal lobe consists of many parts of the brain that help in different functions of the temporal lobe. There are four major parts in this lobe and they are the hippocampus, limbic lobe, Wernicke’s area and Broca’s area.

There are other structures that are a part of the temporal lobe, but these four make up for the main structure of the temporal lobe.

Role of the Temporal Lobe and a Person’s Memory Functions

The temporal lobe is the lobe of the brain that contains the part that is responsible for long term memory or declarative memory. The declarative memory is also known as explicit memory or denotative memory, whereas the explicit memory is a conscious memory.

Conscious memory is further divided into two parts. They are semantic memory and episodic memory. Semantic memory is the memory that relates to facts, while episodic memory is a memory that relates to events that occur in a person’s life.

The parts of the medial temporal lobe, which are crucial for retaining or maintaining long-term memory, include the hippocampus, perirhinal, parahippocampal and entorhinal neocortical areas.

The critical and most vital part of the temporal lobe that is used in the memory formation process is the hippocampus. The major part that is responsible for the proper storage of the memory that is created with the help of the hippocampus in the medial temporal cortex.

The parts of the temporal lobe that are responsible for a person’s explicit memory are the prefrontal cortex and the visual cortex. These are some of the structures of the temporal lobe that perform the primary and ancillary functions.

Role of the Temporal Lobe in One’s Listening Skills

The temporal lobe is mainly responsible for the listening functionality in the human body. It is with the help of the temporal lobes that human beings can listen and enjoy all kinds of sounds in the environment.

The temporal lobe of a human brain allows the person to convert the sounds they hear or listen to pictures. The temporal lobes help a human being to listen to words and then store the word in memory. It also helps to use these words when the situation is apt and appropriate.

This listening of words and storing them in the memory makes it easier for human beings to express their thoughts out loud. This process is done by the dominant temporal lobe.

The non-dominant temporal lobe helps in recognition of the varying sounds when listening to the rise and fall in the voice of a person. It is also responsible for determining the expressions that a human face makes while talking.

Temporal Lobe and its Role in Detecting Odor

The front portion and the middle portion of the temporal lobe are responsible for detecting odor. A person who loses the ability to detect odor in his early life or his old age is susceptible to Alzheimer’s disease. Losing the ability to detect odor is one of the main symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, according to scientific studies.

Temporal Lobe & its Role in One’s Eyesight and Hearing Functionalities

The temporal lobe is very important for a person’s vision and hearing. The importance of the temporal lobe can be understood or realized when there is damage or a lesion on both sides of the temporal lobe. The damage or lesion on both sides of the temporal lobe can cause disabilities like a lack of absorption of the visual images.

It does not stop there; the person, who has damage or lesion on both sides of the temporal lobe, will be very calm. Their sexuality and libido also get severely affected due to the damage caused in the temporal lobe.

The temporal lobe is the region of the brain where multiple sensation modalities are found. These types of modalities are also found in the frontal lobe and parietal lobe.

The multiple-sensation modalities are the source of production of sensory information, response to any motor functions. These modalities are also responsible for the production of other information, which requires new as well as previously-stored experiences.

Thanks to these functions mentioned in these sections, it is safe to conclude that the temporal lobe is a primary part of the learning, thought-making process and the behavior of a person.

Temporal lobes are responsible for the fascinating process of integrating auditory stimuli, sensory linguistic and visual information. They also play a huge role in the control of human emotions.

A study has proved that people, who have damage or injury in the right temporal lobe, lose their ability to recognize or respond to non- verbal auditory stimuli. Non- verbal auditory stimuli are nothing but music.

Now that the functions of the right temporal lobe are clear, let’s see the functions of the left temporal lobe. The left temporal lobe is responsible for the process of recognizing speech, the process of memorizing a speech and the process of forming speech.

People who suffer from epileptogenic focus have damages in the medial limbic emotional part of the temporal lobe. People, who suffer from epileptogenic focus, are prone to have complex partial seizures.

These seizures are a mix of uncontrolled emotions, autonomic, cognitive and emotional dysfunction. They will lack a sense of humor. They will start to have a philosophical religiosity and reduced libido as well.

All the functions that are done by the temporal lobe can be summarized as the following:

  • Auditory perception
  • Recognition of different tastes
  • Olfactory sensation
  • Analysis and synthesis of the sounds of the speech, known as intonation and mechanisms that have a direct relation to one’s memory

Temporal Lobe Damages and its Consequences

People, who suffer from damages to the medial temporal lobe, will have a tough time recalling any type of visual stimuli.

People who suffer from damage to the inferior temporal lobe damage have the common symptom of visual agnosia.  This is a condition, where people have difficulty in recognizing even the most commonplace of objects and familiar objects.

The inferior temporal damage can cause another symptom as well. This is called prosopagnosia. Prosopagnosia is a symptom, in which, the person cannot recognize faces. In addition to the lack of recognition of faces, they are impaired from finding any distinction of unique individual facial features.

Any damage to the anterior portion of the left temporal lobe can result in the savant syndrome. Therefore, it is important to realize the importance of the temporal lobe and take care to ensure that it kept healthy at all times.

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