Lecture: "The Enigmatic Temporal Poles and their Role in Social Cognition"
This lecture was presented april 29 2011 by the Institute in Cognitive Sciences (ISC) at UQAM.
Lecturer: Lars A. Ross, scientists wonder and argue about the function of this mysterious part of the brain consisting of the anterior- most end of the temporal lobes.
Abstract: There is considerable disagreement in the literature about the functionality of the anterior temporal lobes. They are routinely removed as part of resection surgery to alleviate symptoms of otherwise intractable seizure disorder, apparently without significant behavioral consequences. On the other hand, cell loss in these regions due to progressive deterioration in dementia often goes along with multimodal semantic impairments which has motivated some to propose that the primary function of the ATLs is that of a central hub for the access to semantic associations distributed over the cortex. This inconsistency is further complicated by reports from imaging studies that show activations in the ATLs to socially relevant stimuli and are considered part of a neural network underlying social cognition. I will present evidence from functional imaging and brain stimulation studies that support a view of the ATLs as a functionally diverse cortical region and will discuss a possible specialization of subregions of the ATLs for the representation of social knowledge.