Memory Structures Within the Temporal Lobe

The cerebral cortex plays a key role in memory, attention, perceptual awareness, thought, language and consciousness. It is divided into four main regions or lobes, which cover both hemispheres: the frontal lobe (involved in conscious thought and higher mental functions such as decision-making, particularly in that part of the frontal lobe known as the prefrontal cortex, and plays an important part in processing short-term memories and retaining longer term memories which are not task-based); the parietal lobe (involved in integrating sensory information from the various senses, and in the manipulation of objects in determining spatial sense and navigation); the temporal lobe (involved with the senses of smell and sound, the processing of semantics in both speech and vision, including the processing of complex stimuli like faces and scenes, and plays a key role in the formation of long-term memory); and the occipital lobe (mainly involved with the sense of sight).

The Limbic System and Basal Ganglia

Picture from How Stuff Works (


The medial temporal lobe (the inner part of the temporal lobe, near the divide between the left and right hemispheres) in particular is thought to be involved in declarative and episodic memory. Deep inside the medial temporal lobe is the region of the brain known as the limbic system, which includes the hippocampus, the amygdala, the cingulate gyrus, the thalamus, the hypothalamus, the epithalamus, the mammillary body and other organs, many of which are of particular relevance to the processing of memory.

The hippocampus, for example, is essential for memory function, particularly the transference from short- to long-term memory and control of spatial memory and behaviour. The hippocampus is one of the few areas of the brain capable actually growing new neurons, although this ability is impaired by stress-related glucocorticoids. The amygdala also performs a primary role in the processing and memory of emotional reactions and social and sexual behaviour, as well as regulating the sense of smell.

Taken from:


So peripherally attached to the major areas of the auditory cortex that are interpreting sound is the amygdala and the hippocampus! 

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