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Lobe Help

  1. Oct 20, 2012 #1
    The Frontal Lobe controls Emotion / Personality / Decision Making.

    But if you look up Temporal Lobe it says this handles Emotion.

    Can you tell me what I am not getting?
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 20, 2012 #2


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    Well first of all, all of these things ("emotion", "personality", "decision making") are not concrete objects, they're abstract human concept that encompass a set of behaviors. They have some objective meaning, but it's complex, and sometimes arbitrary depending on the working definition.

    Secondly, the brain doesn't divide tasks and behaviors neatly into these compartments (it has it's own compartmentalization scheme but it's ultimately a distributed processing machine). All we can do is look at what happens when parts of the brain get damaged or modulated and say that it has an effect on "personality" or "emotion", but it doesn't mean it's "the place for it".

    That being said, temporal lobes are generally associated with semantic memory (defining things). For instance, all your encounters with an apple will contribute to some compilation of what an apple is in the temporal lobes. Christof Koch has done a lot of expeirments where he can tease out neurons in the temporal lobes that pertain to particular concepts. For instance, a neuron that will fire only when a picture of the Beatles is shown (it will also fire when the word "Beatles" is shown, so it's not just a feature processing neuron). He demonstrates some of this in his talk "Quest for Consciousness", but you can also go to his publication list to see more formally presented information.

    Frontal lobes tend to operate as a "break" in the brain. Your "reptilian brain" may have desires and drives that your frontal lobes will act to inhibit if there are consequences (especially social consequences). Its been pointed out that the frontal lobes of teenagers are unmyelinated, and get myelinated in about the early 20's. I would speculate this is because the teenager is still sampling what kind of behavior is socially acceptable and encoding it into a behavior modification scheme in their frontal lobes.
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