Yesterday I watched the video(short version) of George Lakoff (http://www.downes.ca/post/54545) talking about the work of Goffman and Fillmore - Frames and Frame Analysis. He describes how "frames" are created by social-emotional connections that we interpret as metaphors, and over time these connections become stronger and form specific neural circuits. Our sense-making, and by implication, learning, appears to be directly related to the metaphors and frames we have personally developed over time.
From both the above videos, coming from slightly different perspectives, the evidence appears to show that not only is our learning and understanding constrained and determined by our previous connections and the frames that we have developed, but that new social-emotional connections can lead to new metaphors, new frames and new ways of thinking. Essentially these new connections can physically change our brains and neural circuitry.