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Temporal Lobe Functions

author image Jamie Simpson
Jamie Simpson is a researcher and journalist based in Indianapolis with more than 10 years of professional writing experience. She earned her B.S. in animal science from Purdue University and her Master of Public Affairs in public management from Indiana University. Simpson also works as a massage therapist and equine sports massage therapist.
Temporal Lobe Functions
Temporal Lobe Functions Photo Credit Ablestock.com/AbleStock.com/Getty Images

Scientists and researchers have barely scratched the surface in their exploration of the different regions of the brain and how all parts work together to create thoughts, store memories and produce your unique personality. The temporal lobe is located beneath the upper areas of the brain, right by the ears. It's very important in controlling how you process sights and sounds and use language.

The Facts

Researchers speculate that the temporal lobe has several functions, including regulating hearing, processing visual inputs, making sense of verbal material such as speaking and reading, and storing long-term memories, according to the Centre for Neuro Skills. The temporal lobe also contributes to your personality and is important in your sexual functioning.

In addition, your language functions are directed by the temporal lobe. Even understanding music and appreciating art, which are non-verbal communications, starts in the temporal lobe.

Right Brain vs. Left Brain

As with most regions of the brain, the temporal lobe is also divided into right brain-left brain functions. The right temporal lobe controls the left side of the body, and the left temporal lobe controls the right side of the body, according to Merck. Thus, if you see something with only your left eye, it's processed by the right temporal lobe.


The temporal lobe functions to regulate basic behavior and personality. Agitation, irritability and childish behavior are produced in the temporal lobe, according to "While You Are Waiting." Because the temporal lobe is so vitally linked with vision and hearing, it also affects how you behave in the world based on outside inputs. Long-term memory storage and retrieval also take place in the temporal lobe. When you smell a familiar smell and it reminds you of a memory, that's happening in the temporal lobe.


Sudden changes to the senses, memory loss or personality indicate that something has gone wrong inside the brain. Only your doctor can tell you what is at the root of the problem--be it a lesion, a tumor or a stroke. Sudden headaches, loss of vision or hearing and falling down are clues that you should go to your doctor immediately.


According to Merck, damage to either side of the temporal lobe can lead to specific symptoms. If the right temporal lobe is damaged in some way, your perceptions of sounds and shapes are impaired. If the left temporal lobe is damaged, your perceptions of language and memory of words are impaired. Personality changes such as loss of libido, loss of sense of humor or sudden religious conversion have been associated with a damaged temporal lobe as well.

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