The right frontal lobe is the right-hand side of the front part of the brain. A lobe is a semi-separate element of the brain. The development of the frontal lobes is critical to the evolution of mankind and its separation from other animal species. The frontal lobes are linked to conscious thought, rationalization and self-control. The right frontal lobe is involved with many of these functions and damage to it can cause severe personality disorders.
Frontal lobes are located at the front of the brain behind the forehead and can be divided into left and right sides, just as the brain as a whole is divided into the left and right hemispheres. The main functions of the frontal lobe, as a whole, are to house the dopamine system. This system is connected short-term memory tasks, planning, drive and attention. The frontal lobe fully develops after a human reaches his or her 20s.
A lot of conscious decisions are linked to the frontal lobe, including the right frontal lobe. Humans use this area to differentiate between all the ideas and thoughts they have. They also use it to think through ideas and to develop ideas about consequences and outcomes.
These decision-making abilities are connected to the differences between the left and right hemispheres of the brain. The right frontal lobe concerns itself with aspects such as prosody, primary emotions, empathy and affective behaviors. The connection between affective behavior and the same part of the brain’s function in wit and humor may explain why comedians are so often depressed. It is also connected to character aspects such as vigilance, wakefulness and attentiveness. It is even linked to arousal.
Emotional thought plays an important role in human relationships, and the right frontal lobe is crucial in this area. It includes social inhibitors, ethical diligence, executive control and social conduct areas. These characteristics depend on this part of the brain.
Damage to this region will naturally lead to some kind of impairment of these various personality controls. Scientific studies have shown a link between damage to this area and murderous and anti-social tendencies. One study showed that 20 out of 31 convicted murderers had brain damage, and of those, 64 percent had damage to their right frontal lobes. Other studies have shown that damage to the area does not cause such behavior, but instead damages the part of the brain that inhibits it.