False Self-Perceptions -- And How Do They Happen?

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    Mar 29, 2011 5:05 PM GMT
    I once mentioned this here before as a post in another thread:

    My late partner was a big guy, taller, heavier and bulkier than me. One time we were going out to some event, and I asked if I could borrow a dress watch he had. He agreed.

    But when I tried to put it on, it wouldn't fit around my wrist. So I asked him if this watch was old or something, because his wrist was obviously bigger than mine, and the watch should have fit me, since I have spindly wrists.

    He put it on himself with no problem! So I took it back, and it still wouldn't fit me. Really confused now, I asked him to put his wrist next to mine. To my eyes, his wrist was clearly bigger, mine always looking almost femininely slender to my eyes. But the same watch band would fit him, but not me. We tried this several times, with the same results.

    I saw the evidence of my own eyes, his wrist bigger than mine. But the evidence of the watch band said otherwise. I was totally disconcerted.

    It taught me an important lesson about self-perceptions. I think it's the same reason that when I look into a mirror, I see a much younger & slimmer Bob. But when I look at my photos, I'm old & fat, as I really am. They are 2 different people.

    Does this discrepancy ever happen to anyone else here?
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    Mar 29, 2011 5:48 PM GMT
    I'm not too sure about false perceptions but I think I can relate.
    When I look in the mirror I look fine, but once I take a photo I look like a zombie.. maybe they are just bad photos of you.
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    Mar 29, 2011 5:54 PM GMT
    MnKid84 saidI'm not too sure about false perceptions but I think I can relate.
    When I look in the mirror I look fine, but once I take a photo I look like a zombie.. maybe they are just bad photos of you.

    Or of you. All my pics look awful. The mirror seems to induce that "wrist" effect that I mentioned in my OP, where my mind somehow filters and changes reality.

    Indeed, even my late partner's wrist next to mine still looked bigger to me, even though his watch wristband wouldn't fit me, but fit him, proving beoynd doubt that my wrist was bigger. Yet that optical illusion doesn't work for me in a photo. Hence my double puzzlement.
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    Mar 29, 2011 6:02 PM GMT
    It's not unusual for people to think of themselves as their much younger selves.

    I had a bout of serious cognitive dissonance when I was about 30. It turns out that I seriously didn't look into a mirror for about ten years. Throughout college and grad school, I lived in cheap rooms that were basically converted closets and porches. The bathroom mirrors were tiny, corroded, and dimly lit. You could tell that your hand was somewhere near your face, and then proceed to shave by touch.

    When I finally got a paying job, I moved into an apartment with a large well lit mirror in the bathroom, in which one could see ones whole body. I had no recognition at all of the person in the mirror. I had no idea where he came from or what happened to my 19 year-old self.