At work I am observant of some things, deaf and blind to others. I can navigate even complex source code with some aplomb, but despite working for my current employer nearly 12 years I usually don’t recall the names of my coworkers’ children. I am a reasonably good judge of character; with good accuracy I can screen candidates and select the one who is the best fit for the job. But my hair is frequently out of control, and I have often arrived home from work with a stain on the leg of my trousers, with no recollection of how it materialized.
A coworker described similar blind spots. A keen observer, he has impressed me with his ability to correctly identify what another person is feeling. It’s uncanny. It’s impressive. But the other day he admitted to me that he is almost completely unobservant about personal characteristics. He cannot identify anyone’s eye color. He cannot identify anyone’s hair color. After a long conversation with a coworker, once that person has left the room he cannot remember the color of shirt the other person was wearing.
He described it as binary thinking.
He knows the person has eyes.
He knows the person has hair.
He knows the person is wearing clothes.