Journal Article

The Enigmatic temporal pole: a review of findings on social and emotional processing

Ingrid R. Olson, Alan Plotzker and Youssef Ezzyat

in Brain

Published on behalf of The Guarantors of Brain

Volume 130, issue 7, pages 1718-1731
Published in print July 2007 | ISSN: 0006-8950
Published online March 2007 | e-ISSN: 1460-2156 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/brain/awm052
The Enigmatic temporal pole: a review of findings on social and emotional processing

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The function of the anterior-most portion of the temporal lobes, the temporal pole, is not well understood. Anatomists have long considered it part of an extended limbic system based on its location posterior to the orbital frontal cortex and lateral to the amygdala, along with its tight connectivity to limbic and paralimbic regions. Here we review the literature in both non-human primates and humans to assess the temporal pole's putative role in social and emotional processing. Reviewed findings indicate that it has some role in both social and emotional processes, including face recognition and theory of mind, that goes beyond semantic memory. We propose that the temporal pole binds complex, highly processed perceptual inputs to visceral emotional responses. Because perceptual inputs remain segregated into dorsal (auditory), medial (olfactory) and ventral (visual) steams, the integration of emotion with perception is channel specific.

Keywords: perirhinal cortex; anterior temporal lobe; ba 38; face processing; frontotemporal dementia

Journal Article.  9690 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Neurology ; Neuroscience

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