I stumbled upon this radio piece done by NPR weekend edition and one of the creators of RadioLab. It discusses the idea of how the human’s two halves of the brain work together, how humans really are (at least) two neural systems trying to figure out how the world works, and how authors like Woolf and Proust were some of the first people to explore this phenomenon of a person essentially competing with itself. Today neurologists and psychologists are exploring it in more visceral ways than literature, like how in the 1950’s doctor’s literally split epileptics’ brains in half, and while these people functioned mostly normally, they also had some very odd side effects (listen to the clip to find out).
Humans and other animals are also left/right hand – or tentacle – dominant, and yet when we have brain injuries like a stroke or head trauma often the other side of the brain can take over and function in the place of the damaged parts. It’s fascinating to me to see what scientists and writers (who really are superb analysts of human behavior in my personal if perhaps biased opinion) are learning about the human brain.