By the end of this module you should be able to:
- describe the structures of the medial aspect
of the temporal lobe
- localise and name the internal structures of
the temporal lobe
- name the structures included in the limbic
- identify the role and function of the limbic
- describe disorders related to the damage or
dysfunction of the temporal lobe internal structures
- apply specific tests to assess the function of the temporal
The temporal lobe is a structure unique to primates (Kiernan, 2012), among which the
largest belongs to humans. Knowledge of anatomy, function and
disorders affecting the temporal lobe is invaluable in psychiatry,
and it has been subject to psychiatric research for decades.
In this module we have used a linear approach in order to
explain the anatomy of the temporal lobe. It is best to imagine
holding it and rotating it around its axis to explain its
lateral, inferior, medial and internal aspects.
The anatomy and the function of the lateral and inferior aspects
of the temporal lobe are presented in the module The functional
anatomy of the brain.
In this module we focus on the functions of
the insula linked to social emotions. We also look at the functions
of the medial temporal lobe in memory processing, motivation,
reward anticipation, impulse control and threat detection.
At the end of this module, we present the
famous case of patient HM to illustrate temporal lobe
Since a pure description of anatomical
features can be incredibly dry, we have linked these to clinical
aspects, which will hopefully contribute to more fruitful
We anticipate that this module will not only help you to
understand the anatomical and functional complexities of the
temporal lobe, but that it will also spark a deeper interest in
We recommend that you make some notes as you work through
The 'TrOn Notebook' facility can be accessed
throughout the module (allowing you to make notes on each page),
and these notes will be saved in your personal area 'My TrOn', for
future reference. However, you will not be able to print these
notes as one single document.
If you would prefer to make your notes in a
separate document you may wish to download the 'learning notes'
below. This downloadable Word document will allow you to keep a
personalised record of your learning, which you can then save
and/or print for future reference.
Download the learning notes document for this module