We don’t look the way we think we look

Medical Xpress, from the British Journal of Psychology:

Results of the study show that the unfamiliar participants chose a different set of ‘good likeness’ images compared to those that people had selected of themselves. Surprisingly, the images selected by strangers also led to better performance on the online face matching test. The size of the advantage in other-selection over self-selection was quite large—self-selected images were matched seven per cent less accurately compared to other-selected images.

White said: “It seems counter-intuitive that strangers who saw the photo of someone’s face for less than a minute were more reliable at judging likeness. However, although we live with our own face day-to-day, it appears that knowledge of one’s own appearance comes at a cost. Existing memory representations interfere with our ability to choose images that are good representations or faithfully depict our current appearance.”

Interesting, especially because this isn’t depersonalization or prosopagnosia, but a run-of-the-mill inability (or aversion) to perceive what we see when we see ourselves. But I can understand it — when I look in the mirror, all I see is a smudge of pixels.