The right temporoparietal junction (rTPJ) is involved in the processing of information in terms of the ability of an individual to pay attention. Evidence from neuroimaging studies as well as lesion studies revealed that the rTPJ plays a pivotal role in analyzing signals from self-produced actions as well as with signals from the external environment. For example, an individual with lesions in their rTPJ would more than likely exhibit a sense of hemi-neglect, wherein they would no longer be able to pay attention to anything they observe on the left. So, if someone were to have a lesion in their rTPJ, then over time the presence of the left limbs would fade because they could not be seen. Visual signals provide the sensory information necessary for the brain to process spatial recognition of the world. When vision is limited, knowledge of existence begins to fade away since as far as the brain is concerned the object does not exist. Furthermore, the rTPJ plays a role in the way individuals observe and process information, thus impacting social interaction. Empathy and sympathy require an individual to simultaneously distinguish between different possible perspectives on the same situation. Imaging studies show that this ability depends upon the coordinated interaction of the rTPJ to identify and process the social cues presented to it. This rapid process allows for an individual to quickly react to situations.
Left temporoparietal junction
The left temporoparietal junction (lTPJ) contains both Wernicke's area and the angular gyrus, both prominent anatomical structures of the brain that are involved in language cognition, processing, and comprehension of both written and spoken language. This is the region of the brain wherein “Mentalese”, a term coined by Steven Pinker to explain the brain’s language that translates itself into written and spoken language, is processed. According to Pinker, “knowing a language is knowing how to translate Mentalese into a string of words and vice versa.” The lTPJ succeeds in this matter by taking in observations from external environments, such as conversations, making connections in the brain regarding past memories or incidents and then converting those thoughts and connections to written and spoken language. Pinker explains this in detail in The Language Instinct: How the Mind Creates Language. The lTPJ also plays an important role in reasoning of other’s beliefs, intentions, and desires. Activation of the lTPJ was observed in patients processing mental states such as beliefs when an fMRI was used on patients as they were asked to make inferences regarding the mental states of others such as lying. This study was further supplemented by a study which identified that lesions to the left TPJ can impair cognitive processes specifically involved in the inference of someone else's belief, intention, or desire. Individuals with lesions in the lTPJ were no longer able to correctly identify when someone was lying or insinuating a false sense of belief or desire. The lTPJ is also involved in the processing of associating and remembering the names of individuals and objects."