Recognizing the face of someone you love, being transported by a piece of music, enjoying memories of your vacation — all of these functions are governed by the temporal lobes of our brain, located at about the level of your ears. These lobes allow us to recognize the smell of coffee, the voice of a loved one or the words on the printed page. They help us sort information and lay down memories. For the majority of people, the left temporal lobe is dominant and controls the following specific brain functions, according to Amen Clinics, which specializes in brain health.
If you've ever had a word dancing on the tip of your tongue or tried to remember the name of your eighth grade algebra teacher and had problems, you can blame your left temporal lobe, which holds the language zone called Wernicke's area. This controls the processes involved in mentally identifying and then producing the word or words needed to express a thought or name an object.
Reading comprehension and retention relies heavily on the dominant temporal lobe. The left temporal lobe helps to process sounds and written words into meaningful information. It allows you to remember what you read and integrate the new information into your memory.
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Through the research at Amen Clinics, the left temporal lobe is found to influence emotional stability. Temporal lobe activity enhances mood stability, while increased or decreased activity in this part of the brain leads to fluctuating, inconsistent or unpredictable moods and behaviors.
Essential components of memory are integrated and stored in the temporal lobes, especially explicit memories — those that you can recall consciously and describe, such as facts, people, and places. When this part of the brain is damaged, memory is often impaired.
The temporal lobes are involved in organizing sensory input, such as sight and sound. They allow us to enjoy music, interpret what we hear and help us to give it meaning. The left temporal lobe also helps us make connections between unrelated items. Feelings of conviction and insight we sometimes experience have also been attributed to the temporal lobes.