The nociferous cortex hypothesis predicts that electrophysiological normalization to distal extratemporal brain regions following anterior temporal lobectomy (ATL) will result in improvements in executive functioning. The present study examined the effects of seizure laterality and seizure control on executive function change. The authors administered the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test (WCST), Trails B, and the Controlled Oral Word Association Test to 174 temporal lobe epilepsy patients who underwent ATL. No significant changes were found on the WCST or Trails B tests, regardless of surgery side or seizure-free status. However, verbal fluency significantly improved in seizure-free patients. Findings were consistent with the nociferous cortex hypothesis suggesting selective executive function improvement following ATL. These findings are discussed in terms of recent research demonstrating extrahippocampal metabolic normalization following surgery.