An interesting study shows how we are less likely to learn something new if our memory systems are “busy”,
In short, when the parahippocampal cortex (PHC) is saturated, it is less likely to allow new long term learning. What these researchers ought to do next is track down the “cheap and dirty tricks” which de-saturate the PHC. How does the cortical region become calm once again? What are the mechanisms which reset the network so that it can be “open for business” once again?
That a homogeneous neural network saturates itself and becomes immune to change or is otherwise dysfunctional is not new. Nature’s real magic lies in how de-saturation takes place, and, actually, that de-saturation happens at all!
Also related is an interesting theory about humor. Humor, it seems, is also one of nature’s cheap and dirty tricks for not only de-saturating our neural networks, but also for describing what seems like a rewarding experience we receive when it occurs!