“We are continuously anticipating what we will see, hear or feel next. If parts of an image are obstructed we still have precise expectation of what the whole object will look like.” – Dr. Lars Mukli, University of Glasgow Institute of Neuroscience and Psychology.
In terms of our physical life this is an adaptation of the mind to make up for any shortcomings our body might have. When our vision is obstructed or when we just catch something with the corner of the eye, our mind makes up all the details that the eye didn’t catch based on previously acquired information. This helps us survive better in unexpected situations as we rebuild them by making similarities with already encountered situations.
But as with all things related to the mind, it can play tricks on us, especially when we’re trying to fill out the information we don’t know about the people we meet by making it up in our head. Maybe we don’t realize when our mind fills up the gaps by taking the best guess of what’s in our peripheral view, but we definitely realize when our mind makes up things about the people around us, when it takes guesses about why they did or didn’t do certain things.
Next time you catch your mind taking guesses about the people around you, take a step back. Stop guessing and start asking the questions you need to ask in order to actually get a real answer, the big picture without your mind filling in the gaps.