Temporal Lobe: Definition & Functions

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  • 0:02 What Is the Temporal Lobe?
  • 0:23 Functions
  • 2:07 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor
Derrick Arrington

Derrick has taught biology and chemistry at both the high school and college level. He has a master's degree in science education.

Expert Contributor
Ana Benito Gonzalez

Ana has a PhD in Biology. She has taught college classes at leading U.S. universities, also works as a Biology tutor. She has published several scientific journals.

The brain is divided into several lobes. Each lobe is characterized by the specific functions it does as well as its location and boundaries. In this lesson, you will learn about the temporal lobe and its functions.

What Is the Temporal Lobe?

The brain is divided into distinctive lobes. The temporal lobe is located behind your ears and extends to both sides of the brain. The temporal lobe is involved in vision, memory, sensory input, language, emotion, and comprehension.

This image shows the temporal lobe of the brain highlighted in green:

Temporal Lobe
An image of the brain.

Functions of the Temporal Lobe

The lobes of the brain are responsible for specific functions of the body. This is also true of the temporal lobe and its parts.

Memory

One notable part of the temporal lobe is known as the hippocampus. The hippocampus is located in the center of the temporal lobe and plays a major role in short-term memory, long-term memory, and spatial navigation, such as visualizing your surroundings. Scientists and doctors often focus on the temporal lobe when dealing with individuals who are suffering from Alzheimer's and other illnesses that affect memory.

The hippocampus is responsible for memory and is located in the center of the temporal lobe.

Hearing and Vision

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Additional Activities

Let's Play Doctor:

The brain is divided into several lobes (frontal, occipital, parietal, and temporal). One of them is the temporal lobe. For the following activity, you will be presented with several scenarios from imaginary patients and you will have to determine whether the damage they suffered affected or did not affect the temporal lobe.

Patient 1:

A 22 year old male comes to your office complaining of problems concentrating and solving problems. His mother is with him and she says since he hit his head playing football, his personality has changed a lot. Now he is more aggressive and less patient. Do you think the patient could have damage his temporal lobe based on the symptoms described without any further testing?

Patient 2:

A 66 year old female comes to your office with her daughter. The daughter explains that ever since she fell down the stairs and hit her head, she has had memory issues. She says that she is having trouble speaking and it looks as if she doesn't understand other people when they speak. Based on the patient symptoms after the fall and without any further testing, do you think she might have damaged the temporal lobe?

Answers:

  1. Patient 1: This patient is unlikely to have suffered damaged to his temporal lobes since the symptoms don't match the main functions located in the temporal lobe, such as memory, speech, auditory and visual processing.
  2. Patient 2: This patient is likely to have suffered damaged to her temporal lobes since the symptoms match the main functions located in the temporal lobe, including memory, trouble speaking, and understanding speech.

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