This post initially appeared on Science Blogs

There's this NPR show I really like called "On the Media," and I've listened to just about every episode for the past 8 years through the podcast. As it's name implies, the show is about the media, and is a wonderfully meta way of getting the news through the prism of analyzing the way the news is covered.

Throughout most of the last decade, I formed a mental image of the hosts, Brooke Gladstone and Bob Garfield, and those mental images include faces, though I'd only ever heard their voices. My mental image of Brooke was of an early-sixties, petite lady with greying hair, maybe something like a 1980's era Betty White. I never realized how fundamental these mental projections were until I saw Brooke on the Colbert Report Tuesday night.

I wouldn't have believed the cognitive dissonance for a made-up face could be so strong, but at times I literally had to close my eyes while she was talking - not because she's bad to look at, but because there was a mouth moving, and I heard the voice I've been hearing every week for my entire adult life, but my brain absolutely refused to associated that voice with that face. She seemed like she was lip syncing the "real" Brooke, or like she was an impostor (maybe I have an auditory Capgras delusion). I was honestly floored by the force of the feeling. Has anyone else experienced something similar?

P.S. - Out of curiosity, I looked up the other host, Bob Garfield, and my mental image of him was disturbingly accurate was also completely off base.

I originally posted this image: the exclusion of all the images google returned of some bearded dude:

...because I assumed that one was just a clean-shaven version of the same person, and it fit my mental image better.

Sorry, Bob, I am ashamed :-(

Video of Brooke on the Colbert Report discussing her new book: Influencing Machine is after the jump. The Colbert Report

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