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What Are the Differences Between the Frontal Lobe and Temporal Lobe?

The frontal lobe controls short-term memory.
The functions of the temporal lobe include processing what is heard and speech, while the functions of the frontal lobe include planning and suppressing inappropriate behavior.
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  • Written By: Allison Boelcke
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 14 October 2014
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The basic framework of the structure of the brain consists of four main sections known as lobes, which each serve different functions and may be divided into smaller subsections. These brain lobes include the parietal lobes, which are primarily responsible for sensory experiences like taste and sound, and the occipital lobes, whose main functions tends to involve vision and mentally processing images and words. The remaining brain lobes are the frontal lobes, which have a variety of functions ranging from memory to speech and motor skills, and the temporal lobes, which are responsible for processing sounds, speech, and memory. The responsibilities of the frontal lobe and temporal lobe accomplish similar functions for the body; however, each lobe has key tasks that are specific to it.

One of the main differences between the frontal lobe and temporal lobe is each section’s position within the brain. The frontal lobe consists of two sub-sections and is located in the front of the brain just behind the forehead, while the temporal lobe is found below the frontal lobe. The remaining brain lobes, the parietal and occipital lobes, are located behind the frontal and temporal lobes.

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Although both the frontal lobe and temporal lobe are responsible for memory, they each provide different specific memory functions. The frontal lobe controls short-term memory, as well as planning and concentration. For example, this portion of the brain is at work when a person is making a schedule or recalling specific tasks that need to be completed for the day. The temporal lobe also contributes to memory, but it tends to assist a person in recalling long-term memories, particularly those memories triggered by senses, such as hearing music.

Another key difference between the frontal lobe and temporal lobe is how they deal with processing language. Each of these lobes has a subsection within it that handles language and if either of the areas become damaged, it can result in severe speech and language difficulties. An area within the temporal lobe known as Wernicke’s area is responsible for comprehending words and sounds; therefore, when this area is damaged, a person may make sounds that are not actual words but may be unaware of the mistakes since his or her brain cannot differentiate between words and other sounds. Boca’s area is located within the left frontal lobe and its main function is producing the physical acts of speaking. Damage to Boca’s area may cause difficulties in a person being able to physically speak, but he or she generally still understands the speech of others.

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