What Is the Left Temporal Lobe?

Christina Edwards

The left temporal lobe is the outermost left portion of a mammalian brain. It plays a vital role in recognizing and processing written and verbal language. It can also help people remember certain details, such as names. Damage or dysfunction of the left temporal lobe can result in mood swings or learning disabilities.

The left temporal lobe plays a vital role in language processing.
The left temporal lobe plays a vital role in language processing.

The cortex, or cerebrum, is the largest part of the brain. It is divided into two halves, or hemispheres — the right brain and the left brain. Each brain hemisphere is also divided into four sections, known as lobes, which are each responsible for something different.

On the side of the left hemisphere of the brain lies the left temporal lobe. This is typically located right behind the eye, and around the ear. It is protected by the left temporal bone of the skull, along with part of the sphenoid bone.

Temporal lobes are the parts of the brain that help with sensory input organization and memory. The left temporal lobe in particular helps an individual recognize written words. Recognizing words and letters and comprehending what one reads are often associated with the left temporal lobe. This is the part of the brain that is believed to help people remember the things that they read.

Temporal lobes are made up of both simple and complex areas. A simpler area of the left temporal lobe may help a person recognize that a sound is being made. More complex areas of this lobe, on the other hand, will help a person recognize what that sound is and what is making it.

This temporal lobe also plays a role in remembering the things that people hear. It is responsible for helping people remember certain word pronunciations, for instance. Remembering a person's name is also often associated with the left temporal lobe.

Moods may also be influenced by the left temporal lobe. Many scientists believe that this area of the brain can help with mood stability. Damage to this temporal lobe can sometimes lead to mood swings or outright aggression.

Damage to this temporal lobe can also cause a person to have a hard time recognizing written or verbal words. Dyslexia is a common learning disorder that makes letter or word recognition difficult for some people. This is commonly associated with damage to or underdevelopment of the left temporal lobe. Some studies have shown that individuals with dyslexia have less activity than normal readers in a certain part of the temporal lobe, known as the left superior temporal gyrus.

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