Aphantasia / Unable to Produce Mental Images

Aphantasia: I noticed someone had used this search term and reached this blog. Having not heard of aphantasia, I looked it up.

Aphantasia: A life without mental images  By James Gallagher Health editor, BBC News website, 26 August 2015

“Most people can readily conjure images inside their head – known as their mind’s eye. But this year scientists have described a condition, aphantasia, in which some people are unable to visualise mental images.”

The article offered a short test – You scored 40 out of 40

This score suggests that your visual imagery is more vivid than usual. Scores at the upper end of this range are suggestive of ‘hyperphantasia’: exceptionally strong powers of visualisation. About 23% of people score in this range, the highest of our five bands. If you consider your imagery to be exceptionally strong, and would like to be included in future research, you can contact the team at Exeter University through this email: a.zeman@exeter.ac.uk

The test, though simple, made me aware that “demanding an image,” which is what the test does, makes visualizing even easier. I can zoom in on skin texture; see just a piece of clothing or the whole person, and can animate the person’s movement. I think this is because, as a visual Asperger, I view these details all the time, so they get saved in my memory. Someone who doesn’t pay attention to the environment simply wouldn’t have a detailed memory to “visualize.” Also, since I take many photographs, and have for years, I would imagine this activity increases visual memory; on the other hand, my interest in a wide range of images, from the entire landscape to detailed “natural” processes probably reflects my visual “hyperphantasia.”

On the other, other hand, I never photograph people, but can visualize people. It’s possible that visual Aspergers don’t look people in the eye (face) because the image is just too clear, detailed and intimate. (Like Fred’s nose) Do NT’s really want to know that this is how we see people?

How could I forget this face?

How could I forget this face?



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