Do you have Aphantasia?

ColinJ

Puzzle game developer
I have just found out about the condition Aphantasia. I had never heard of it before now, but after reading that article I think that I probably suffer from it!

I had noticed that I find it very difficult to solve crossword clues unless I am actually looking at the puzzle. If someone reads a clue out to me, it somehow doesn't sink in, but I can often spot the answer very quickly if I am reading it myself.

I have always drawn sketches to help me visualise ideas. These days I spend a lot of time using computer drawing software to illustrate ideas.

If I try to imagine what something looks like, my mind almost goes blank. I can't believe that I had never noticed this before. I suppose I assumed that it is the way that everybody is, but it turns out that some people form very clear and detailed mental images at will.

This doesn't apply to me when dreaming - I have very realistic and convincing dreams, but I can't seem to conjure up similar scenes when awake.

If I asked you to close your eyes and imagine looking at something familiar, would you be able 'see' it in your mind's eye?
 
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classic33

Legendary Member
I have just found about the condition Aphantasia. I had never heard of it before now, but after reading that article I think that I probably suffer from it!

I had noticed that I find it very difficult to solve crossword clues unless I am actually looking at the puzzle. If someone reads a clue out to me, it somehow doesn't sink in, but I can often spot the answer very quickly if I am reading it myself.

I have always drawn sketches to help me visualise ideas. These days I spend a lot of time using computer drawing software to illustrate ideas.

If I try to imagine what something looks like, my mind almost goes blank. I can't believe that I had never noticed this before. I suppose I assumed that it is the way that everybody is, but it turns out that some people form very clear and detailed mental images at will.

This doesn't apply to me when dreaming - I have very realistic and convincing dreams, but I can't seem to conjure up similar scenes when awake.

If I asked you to close your eyes and imagine looking at something familiar, would you be able 'see' it in your mind's eye?
Such as?
 
OP
ColinJ

ColinJ

Puzzle game developer
This is one test I saw... visualise a picture of a red star (i.e. a geometric star, NOT an astronomical one!).


Aphantasia.jpg


I 'see' 1 or 2.

What interests me more is why it has a name at all. Is it considered a disease or handicap?
It would be very odd for something not to be given a name! I can't think of anything that has to be described to be referenced because nobody bothered to give it a name. For example, it would be extremely tiring to the mind and lacking in interest to have to refer to the state thus induced as mental fatigue and lacking in interest because the words 'boring' and 'boredom' did not exist!

I think that the fact that the minds of a small percentage of people work very differently to those of the majority is interesting and something worth studying. There must be some things that are more difficult for people who have the condition. Perhaps we are more suited to some types of work than others?

At least you don't mistake your wife for a hat.
Or in my singleton case - mistaking my hat for a wife! :laugh:

@ColinJ can you imagine a different route on familiar roads or do you have to look at a map?
Er... I probably could cobble together a route without a map, but I would naturally use the map even though I didn't have to.

Hmm, interesting... I struggled to imagine the red star, but I can replay the route that I plotted for my Tour of Britain ride tomorrow. In a way though, I am reconstructing it from my knowledge of where it goes.
 

winjim

Stay at home. Protect the NHS. Save lives.
I definitely need to look at things to understand them, I'm the same as you with things like crosswords. As for imagination, when I first heard about aphantasia I spent pretty much an entire evening saying to my wife 'yes, but you can't actually see it, can you?' in an attempt to figure out what she meant about how her imagination worked. So yeah, I think I may be the same, I'm still not sure what people mean when they say 'mind's eye', whether they can actually literally see the thing they are imagining. I find it very difficult to explain how I imagine things myself, it's sort of beyond language. In @Katherine 's example I can imagine the roads, and sort of experience them but not actually see them. So I can travel a familiar route in my imagination and describe what's there but it's not exactly visual. I am autistic, which means I probably don't imagine and perceive things in the same way as most people anyway.

The Disney reference from @AndyRM is apt, as I believe it was a Pixar animator who described it and noticed that many of his fellow animators seemed the same.
Edit: oh yeah, the linked article...
 
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YukonBoy

The Monch
Location
Inside my skull
My point Colin was that someone recognised the condition and investigated it enough to give it a name. So who was that, and what led them to the conclusion it needed to be classified / given a name?
 

classic33

Legendary Member
This is one test I saw... visualise a picture of a red star (i.e. a geometric star, NOT an astronomical one!).

I 'see' 1 or 2.

Hmm, interesting... I struggled to imagine the red star, but I can replay the route that I plotted for my Tour of Britain ride tomorrow. In a way though, I am reconstructing it from my knowledge of where it goes.
I see 4 and 5, or a red version of 3.
 

mudsticks

Obviously an Aubergine
I can imagine stuff in 3d..and bring to mind all sorts of mental pictures.

But like yourself, and many others I'd not realised previously to hearing about this, a while back, that the insides of other peoples brainiums 'look' and visualise (or not) quite differently.

It neatly explains many a misunderstanding, when trying to convey matters practical to others.

However, I do find it much easier to solve crosswords if I'm the one holding the pencil..

I think that's possibly more down to bring a control freak though. :angel:
 
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