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What Is the Right Temporal Lobe?

By Karize Uy
Updated Feb 16, 2024
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The right temporal lobe is a part of the brain located on the right side, just along the right temple. It is slightly positioned at a person’s eye level, running along the sides until near the spine’s base. The right temporal lobe has a counterpart called the left temporal lobe, and together, they are responsible for gathering information that can be stored as short-term memories.

Generally, the brain is divided into the left and right hemisphere, one of which is usually dominant over the other. For people who are right-handed, the left hemisphere is usually dominant, while left-handed people have a dominant right hemisphere, including the right temporal lobe. The right lobe is usually in charge of analyzing visual stimuli, such as a face or a picture. Whenever a person tries to connect a name with a face, the right lobe is in action. It is highly possible that people with exceptional photographic memory, in which a person remembers everything he sees, have well-developed right temporal lobes.

When it specifically comes to “reading” a face, the right temporal lobe is also attributed in assigning an emotion to the face’s expression. A frown, for example, would mean sadness, and a crinkled nose would be interpreted as a sign of disgust. This ability is said to assist humans — and animals — in choosing a mate ideal for procreation. This is why people who have pleasant expressions generally attract more people as compared to those with disagreeable expressions.

Auditory information is also processed in the right temporal lobe, specifically music and noise, while the left temporal lobe deals with verbal sounds. By processing the auditory stimuli, the right lobe is able to sort out the music from the noise and possibly “tune into” the music better. This process can be experienced, for example, when a person is listening to a song in a crowded, noisy place. The person struggles to listen to the song and manages to zone in on the song, making the noise seem less audible. Musically-inclined people may possibly have highly-developed right temporal lobes, as compared to those who are not.

The right temporal lobe is very delicate, as with all the parts of the brain, and damage to it may cause serious problems. Even pressure from a brain tumor can result in difficulties as well, one of which is the inability to discontinue talking, even to the point of not making sense anymore. Trauma to the area can also cause difficulties in remembering faces, medically termed as “prosopagnosia.” A person with a damaged right temporal lobe may also lose his ability to recognize music and tones and even the ability to sing.

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