If I don't see your photograph or hear some description that stops me, I picture the men looking like Cary Grant and the women looking like... No, not Myrna Loy!
Myrna Loy today would look frumpy. That hairstyle! I picture the women looking more like Jennifer Connelly.
What's wrong with me?! I like to think I'm an optimist. But it's a problem when I try to step out of this life of the mind — oh, come on, humor me, blogging is the life of the mind — and interact with real people. I believe I'm swanning around at a posh cocktail party in a 1930s Hollywood movie, and it's quite a shock to see that things don't look like that at all.
This is a topic upgraded from my Twitter feed, where I've also been talking about my other cognitive quirk: I visualize things outside of my immediate physical sphere as much smaller than they are. For example, I "small-visualize" government, industry, geography, historical time, and outer space. My theory is that this is a natural consequence of evolution: We're hard-wired to understand a world that has the scope it had when we lived in a small, walkable place, when the things we knew about had a human scale.