Is there a name for this cognitive event? (See details)
I’ve been meaning to ask this on Fluther for months but I kept forgetting! But I have been experiencing and wondering about this for years.
I feel like I have some sort of cognitive ‘set’ of people whom I expect to see, based on a location. For instance, friends, professors, staff, and acquaintances I knew from college would be one set; the regulars at my favorite bar in town would be another; my colleagues, professors, and undergrad students that I know from grad school would be a third. (You know how our brains don’t actually perceive most of the information that is before us? For instance, we can see the outline of a chair with lots of the image missing, and still recognize it, or we can recognize words just based on their first and last letters. I feel like recognizing people works the same for me.)
I often find that I ‘mix up’ these cognitive sets. So, I’ll be walking in the town where I attend grad school, and see people that I confuse, on first sight, with people I knew from college, or from my home town where I grew up. When I was in France this summer, it took me a few weeks to get used to not being able to recognize people from previous cognitive sets, and similarly, when I came back to the U.S., it took me a while to get used to recognizing the people whom I was likely to encounter on a daily basis.
Is this something that you have ever experienced? Am I just really ‘bad with faces’? Is there a name for this phenomenon in psychology?