There’s a piece at NPR about Capgras syndrome, in which people, especially those near and dear to one, appear to be impostors. The syndrome is itself rare, but if our experience with Childhood Onset Schizophrenia is any indication, the delusion is more common than they seem aware.
As I’ve noted, when Aidan fell ill at the age of nine, he continually accused us of not being his actual parents. Medicated at a facility here in Vermont, he shyly asked Mary whether that was really her one day when she arrived.
The piece relies on commentary from the neuroscientist V.S. Ramachandran, but this disconnect between recognition and the emotion that ought to accompany it was explored at length in D’amasio’s Descartes’ Error, which I recommend to anyone interested in the subject of this strange alienation.
Somewhat related would be Dr. Helen on the “empathy gap.”