What Goes On In Your Head

Last night I watched the Emmys. So sue me. Or judge me from afar.

One thing I noticed is that Claire Danes doesn’t much look like Claire Danes. That is to say, Claire Danes (the woman trying to revive her career) doesn’t much remind me of Claire Danes (the girl from My So Called Life). Possibilities of plastic surgery aside, I’ve met people that don’t really resemble themselves throughout much of their lives. But I’ve also met people who look similar from cradle to coffin.

I wonder how our brains handle this. It’s easy enough to slot a certain person into a category (this is “Dan” because he looks like “Dan”), but how does a brain handle someone in the category of “Dan” who doesn’t really look like “Dan”? If someone’s looks change through their life, or they have plastic surgery, or they have facial reconstructive surgery, how do we really see that person?

I don’t know if maybe this changes with how close to you are to that person. It might be that I’m not overly familiar with Claire Danes, but whenever anyone said “Claire Danes” my brain said, “That’s not Claire Danes!”

So I wonder: If Laura (my wife, and a very attractive woman) were somehow damaged and had to have reconstructive surgery that made her only vaguely resemble herself, how would my brain react? And if I reacted the same way to Laura, how long would it take for my brain to put her back in her category?