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The Temporal Lobe

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The temporal lobe is located on the lateral bottom section of the brain. This lobe is also the location of the primary auditory cortex, which is important for interpreting sounds and the language we hear. The left temporal lobe is associated with verbal memory and the right temporal lobe with music. The temporal lobe includes the auditory cortex (involved in processing auditory information) as well as the hippocampus (involved in memory). The left temporal lobe is associated with word recognition, whereas the right temporal lobe is associated with facial recognition.

The Primary Auditory Cortex is located at the superior of the temporal lobe and responsible for the processing of auditory (sound) information. It receives information related to pitch, rhythm, and loudness.

The lesion causes difficulty in recognizing the distance and direction of the sound, especially when sound comes from the contralateral side.
Auditory Association Cortex is located posterior to the primary auditory cortex and stores memories of sounds and permits perception of sounds. It is responsible for language understanding, recognition and formulation. It lies in the center of Wernicke’s area.

Damage can result in aphasia (inability to express in terms of speech). This is receptive aphasia; the person will be unable to comprehend spoken words; the person will speak fluently but without any meaning.

Limbic Temporal Cortex
On the medial surface of the temporal lobe are three structures critical for normal human functioning. From rostral to caudal, they are the olfactory cortex, the amygdala, and the hippocampus. They are responsible for visceral function, emotions, behavior, and memory. Stimulation of the Limbic Temporal Cortex can elicit past events. The left posterior area is a memory of verbal info. The right posterior area is a memory of visual info.

Bilateral lesion of limbic temporal cortex causes prosopagnosia, loss of facial recognition. It is often damaged in Alzheimer’s disease. Lesion to the temporal lobe will eliminate all past memories.

Primary Olfactory Cortex
On top of the cribriform are the nasal foramina and they hit the olfactory bulb which then runs toward the primary olfactory cortex through the olfactory tract. This cortex is where you get a sensation of smell before you’ve figured out what the smell is. The olfactory cortex is located on the medial aspect of the temporal lobe, in the uncus (aka piriform lobe). The olfactory cortex is also called the Rhinencephalon, or “nose brain.” This is the most primitive part of the cerebrum and connects directly to the limbic system (emotional system), which is why smells often directly trigger emotions as well as our deepest memories.

Responsible for the response and memory of emotions, especially fear. The amygdala is also involved with mood and the conscious emotional response to an event, whether positive or negative.

It is critical in laying down declarative memory but is not necessary for working memory, procedural memory, or memory storage. Damage to the hippocampus will only affect the formation of new declarative memories.

Damage to the temporal lobe can lead to problems with memory, speech perception, and language skills.

Left hemisphere: application of neurofeedback training in T3 and T5 improve word recognition, reading speed and performance, language skills, memory (train for dyslexia).
Right hemisphere: application of neurofeedback training in T4 and T6 improve object recognition, music performance, social cues, facial recognition.

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