Is It Just Me?

I've mostly recovered from a recent illness, and I've working on a new post in line with what I've been discussing recently. I'm still a bit tired though. As such, rather than worry about technical discussions, I wanted to ask a question. John Cook is the proprietor of the Skeptical Science website. Here is a picture of him:

For the last few years, this picture has bugged me. Every time I saw a picture of Cook, I felt like I had seen it him somewhere before. Today, I finally realized why he seemed so familiar. It might be silly/crazy, but... doesn't he kind of look like Donny Osmond?


Donny Osmond is a sort of C-rank celebrity I wouldn't expect most people to remember. I only made this connection recently while watching the music video for the Weird Al song White and Nerdy:

Which has Donny Osmond doing some intentionally "white" dancing that's both stupid and hilarious at the same time. I happened to watch the music video again today, and as soon as I saw Osmond pop up in it, I realized, that's what my mind was remembering every time I saw a picture of John Cook.

So am I crazy? Do these two look nothing alike? It the similarity I perceive just a figment of my fevered imagination? I'd really like to know if this is just in my head.

3 comments

  1. Differences in faces are very subtle. Osmond seems more square headed. In the video, he looks more like Cook -- maybe it's his goofy expression. I also get the impression that Osmond is taller (that can be deceiving in pictures and video).

  2. There is a similarity, but I can't see a close duplication of any particular feature.

    When I went away to graduate school, for the first few months I kept seeing people whom I thought at first glance had been undergraduate classmates. They weren't but the resemblances were startling. I think it was caused by a heightened perception of my new surroundings and the thousands of faces at both schools. The frequency of "hits" was small; however, they were noteworthy enough that the memory lingers decades later. Maybe you've seen Cook's image so much that his facial features are priming your perceptions of others. Our brains are good at this sort of pattern recognition.

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