Scientific progress rarely develops in a linear, steady fashion. Though volumes of data are always accumulating, the theories which describe them take time to adjust in light of new or anomalous findings. The concept of paradigm shifts, developed by the philosopher Karl Popper, is a reminder that that groundbreaking ways of thinking are always around the corner when it comes to scientific knowledge.
The emergence of neuroplasticity is a strong example of this phenomenon. In a departure from its earliest assumptions, contemporary neuroscience is demonstrating that the brain is far from fixed and rigid. Our central nervous system is highly malleable to experience and can reorganize and adapt to changing circumstances. And this ability is not limited to the early brain: even adults can benefit from this adaptive capacity.