In the 1960s and 70s, a number of patients had their brains split surgically: the left and right hemispheres were separated by severing the corpus callosum. This was to cure epilepsy. At first there didn’t seem to be any side effects, but then the patients started reporting strange experiences, like their left and right hands attempting to put on different clothes.
This was the beginning of an amazing series of experiments, which has shed light on what the functions of the two different sides of the brain. You might have read some pop-psychology about how the right brain is “creative”, and how we need to engage “whole brain thinking.” This kind of dumbed-down drivel unfortunately pervades the science pages of the popular press, and has found its way into business and education orthodoxy. The truth is way more interesting.
This article in nature also contains a couple of great videos, and an excellent podcast.
Nature Volume:483, Pages:260–263 Date published:(15 March 2012)