Jonah Lehrer, one of my favorite authors about the brain, had a great article in Wired Magazine recently. His point was that the patterns we create in achieving expertise and mastery may inhibit our ability to accept and process new information.

I actually don’t know whether I agree with Jonah’s core point, that the brain is a deeply constrained thinking machine, full of tradeoffs. I’d put the issue less pessimistically. The brain cuts ruts, but it has the capacity to establish new pathways.

I talk about those tools throughout my blog, mostly in posts addressed to creativity and mindfulness. By understanding how the brain cuts ruts and how new pathways may be formed, we are not ultimately as limited as this article seems to suggest.

(Hat tip to Dr. Marsha Lucas, who brought this article to my attention on her blog. Thanks, Marsha!)