What Emotions Does the Frontal Lobe Control?

Reviewed on 12/2/2020
The frontal lobe is the largest lobe of the brain.
The frontal lobe is the largest lobe of the brain.

The frontal lobe plays a role in regulating emotions in interpersonal relationships and social situations. These include positive (happiness, gratitude, satisfaction) as well as negative (anger, jealousy, pain, sadness) emotions.

People with damage to the prefrontal cortex of the frontal lobe area face difficulty in controlling the emotions of anger and aggression.

Where is the frontal lobe?

The brain is made up of four types of lobes: frontal lobe, parietal lobe, temporal lobe, and occipital lobe. Each lobe serves different functions.

The frontal lobe is the largest lobe of the brain. It extends from the front of the brain to almost halfway toward the back of the brain.

What is the function of the frontal lobe?

The frontal lobe in conjunction with the other lobes of the brain plays a vital role in controlling inhibitions. The important functions of the frontal lobe include:

Social and emotional reactions:

  • Decision-making
  • Self-control
  • Emotional regulation

Cognitive skills:

  • Maintaining concentration and alertness
  • High-level thinking
  • Problem-solving
  • Planning
  • Judgment
  • Conversation

The frontal lobe also plays a role in linguistic, artistic, and creative skills.

The back of the frontal lobe controls the body's voluntary physical movements. The left side controls movements of the right side of the body, while the right motor strip controls movements of the left side of the body.

What happens when the frontal lobe is damaged?

Since the frontal lobe is involved in executing a variety of functions, a multitude of symptoms can occur if it gets damaged. These symptoms may include one or more of the following:

  • Changes in personality
  • Impairment of problem-solving skills
  • Difficulty in planning things
  • Decreased ability to retain information
  • Impaired judgment
  • Inappropriate behavior
  • Decline in creativity
  • Depression
  • Noticeable changes in behavior
  • Lack of motivation
  • Inability to maintain focus (or low attention span)
  • Impulsive behavior
  • Hemiparesis/hemiplegia (weakness on one side of the body)
  • A tendency to fall (or difficulty in maintaining balance)
  • Decreased sensations of taste or smell

What causes damage to the frontal lobe?

Factors that cause damage to the frontal lobe include:

How is frontal lobe damage diagnosed?

Doctors use computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans of the brain to confirm the diagnosis of frontal lobe damage. They look for specific features, such as infection, tumor, shrinking of the brain (brain atrophy), or any associated degenerative conditions such as Parkinson’s disease.

A complete neurological examination is also performed that involves testing motor skills, language and speech skills, social behavior, impulse control, memory, and problem-solving skills.

What is the treatment of frontal lobe damage?

Medical treatment depends entirely on the type and cause of frontal lobe damage. The prescribed medications can be used to treat the infection or stroke and surgery to remove the tumor. Medicines are also available to control the specific symptoms of frontal lobe damage.

Physical and occupational therapy is frequently needed if there is the involvement of motor skill impairment (as in paralysis).

Speech therapy may also help patients manage symptoms associated with speaking.

QUESTION

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References
Nelson SL. Frontal Lobe Syndromes. Medscape. https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1135866-overview

Blair RJR. Considering anger from a cognitive neuroscience perspective. Wiley Interdiscip Rev Cogn Sci. Published online January-February 2012. doi: 10.1002/wcs.154

Pirau L, Lui F. Frontal Lobe Syndrome. StatPearls Publishing. January 2020. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK532981/

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