Karma is not the only thing that can come back to hurt you. In some cases, more experienced learners are at a disadvantage for learning new information. This is known as proactive interference, whereby old information can interfere with the acquisition of new information.
While reading about this I couldn't help but think about my prime years of my basketball career. In eighth grade, I had practiced rigorously to transform my basketball shot. Although it took, me a while to consistently shoot with the correct form, I eventually got it down. However, during high pressure games, I would, at times, unintentionally return to my old form. This leads me to my hypothesis: Under high stress situations, proactive interference is more prevalent and is thus more likely to inhibit the ability to maintain and retain new information.
Biologically, the hippocampus and the amygdala are close in terms of proximity. The hippocampus has been shown to be involved with memories, producing L.T.P while the amygdala is involved with fear. Upon response to fear, the amygdala is activated and perhaps interferes with the recent information learned (i.e. my correct shot) or alternatively stimulates the activation of the previous information learned (i.e. my old shot).
Imagine if I had the ball with 3 seconds left in the game and instead of just shooting it, I thoroughly, thought out the process of shooting a basketball using correct technique. I would not get the shot off in time! Perhaps, to cope with the strenuous situation, my brain unconsciously returned to its old ways. Perhaps this is a primitive instinct? Have you had a similar experience? Why do you think this would occur?