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firemonkey
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03 Oct 2019, 5:45 pm

Just done a test via the Imagery lab at Sussex university . One of the questions asked at the end was whether one had Asperger's or autism.

I am not sure whether the link provided was exclusively for me or not. So I will not post it .

If you're interested . Contact Carla Dance.

If you have any questions about the research, please email Carla Dance ([email protected]). We are very grateful for all participation in our research and hope that our work will further the understanding and knowledge about aphantasia.


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SharonB
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03 Oct 2019, 6:40 pm

Then I should wait until I know the answer to that question (which for U.S. would be only one). My assessment is scheduled!



kmarie57
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03 Oct 2019, 8:50 pm

I think I have aphantasia, but I am in the US, so I suppose I can't do this. :/ Even if I did reach out to her, what on earth would I say?



firemonkey
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04 Oct 2019, 2:12 am

Perhaps say you're interested in the study, and could you take part as you're in the USA ? The email I got mentioned it was not advisable to do it if you have epilepsy.


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0_equals_true
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04 Oct 2019, 4:36 pm

I have aphantasia and a UK citizen.

I described it in detail to doctors and others way before I had heard the word aphantasia. None of them were interested, Including the Maudsley Hospital that diagnosed me as AS. I described it on WP years ago, some of my earliest posts. I described it to neuropsychologists and neuopsychiatrists. I even mentioned the idea of doing functional tests to compare differences in activity with control subjects. The Maudsley where interested in their own research but not this.

I have diagnosis for AS, ASD, executive function and "visual dyslexia".

Another neuropsychologist was sceptical but indulged me with two tests. One, I sumised, was to do with eye movement both open and closed eyelids where I was asked to imagine things. The other was WIAS block (visual spacial pattern matching) test, which she had already assessed me on so repeating it proved noting. When she didn't get the result she wanted with the first test, she used the second test to imply I must have a mental image. I'm not sure why you'd automatically assume that. However I'd be happy to repeat the tests under fMRI or similar.

Years have passed in the interim.

It was my SO that finally found out about aphantasia, which I had described to her previously. I guess it brought me back to a difficult time in my life where I was trying to find out about myself. I hadn't discussed such things publicly for years. That is why it has taken me a year to be ready to reach out to researchers and fellow aphantasia folk.

I have full aphantasia, as in no qualitive representation of thought (no visuals of any kind, no sound, no smells nothing). I am a programmer, but don't be fooled it has been a real struggle alll my life. The learning difficulty aspects of and the effects on working memory and recall perhaps have been understated. It is a variant of life, a spectrum I'm sure, but it is not all roses.

It became obvious to me fairly early on that the way thought is described in language just didn't match how I thought. I have no frame of reference, to be able to describe how I think but I am analytical in nature.

If qualitive representation thought was just that, a representation then maybe it wouldn't matter much. However I think that this perception is part of a feedback loop of cognition. Like gestalt but also in a more direct way. If the mind can project the problem and represent it in multiple ways, that increases the number of cross references using different recall approaches in hybrid. Also allowing for problems to be broken down and the parts held in memory more easily. This in essence is an interactiive process between self and the specialised processors of the brain. Or at least that is my hypothesis.



firemonkey
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04 Oct 2019, 5:23 pm

With me it's no images,smells,sounds,taste or touch. I had known I wasn't able to visualise for years, but had thought that was the norm.

In 2005 I did a guided imagery relaxation course at the mental health centre. We had to listen to a tape of a beach scene and imagine the sounds etc while relaxing our bodies. For me there was nothing. It came to me that if not being able to visualise was the norm it would render such a course redundant . That was obviously not true as guided imagery relaxation courses have been around for years . It followed from that that I must be the odd one out as a non visualiser.
In 2015 I came across a BBC article about aphantasia and a test. That put a name to it for me .

With regards to the visual spatial matching I have come across a good number of people with aphantasia who say they are good or better when it comes to (visual) spatial tests.
I am not . My combined score for the spatial tests here is 30/117= 25.64% .


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Last edited by firemonkey on 04 Oct 2019, 5:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Antrax
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04 Oct 2019, 5:27 pm

What is aphantasia?


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firemonkey
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04 Oct 2019, 5:53 pm

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aphantasia
https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-defin ... aphantasia
http://sites.exeter.ac.uk/eyesmind/

I hope those help .


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0_equals_true
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05 Oct 2019, 4:27 am

firemonkey wrote:
With me it's no images,smells,sounds,taste or touch. I had known I wasn't able to visualise for years, but had thought that was the norm.


Same.

firemonkey wrote:
In 2005 I did a guided imagery relaxation course at the mental health centre. We had to listen to a tape of a beach scene and imagine the sounds etc while relaxing our bodies.


Yes I agree that is not going to work. The guided body scan might work because you can feel your body to some degree and the floor. Lack of proprioception is a different thing entirely. Even in severe case where it causes major neuro motor issues there is usually some awareness of the body though not reliably so. However body scan does require focusing in on different parts
of the body to some extent to the exclusion of others and that's a skill in of itself.

firemonkey wrote:
With regards to the visual spatial matching I have come across a good number of people with aphantasia who say they are good or better when it comes to (visual) spatial tests.
I am not . My combined score for the spatial tests here is 30/117= 25.64% .


I'm average or below average on these test but WIAS is a very limited test of visual spacial. The more variable involved it declines dramatically. A real life senario like being in car my brain overloads there is too much information. For mechanism I rely on external tools to help understand and that takes some time. My issue with her approach is I don't think she genuinely wanted to find out if what I said was true or not. She had her theory on how these problems were solved in the brain and assumed that is how it was done in mine. Like I said she was just repeating the same test she had done not long before with no functional indicators.



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05 Oct 2019, 4:51 am

A worry I have is that Aphantasia may become a fad. I don't wish to be a gatekeeper and I am sure it is a spectrum, however I don't want for it to be trivialised especially not the learning/cognitive challenges as a result of having it.

Maybe I am being silly, I don't know. Anything about perception is relative, therefore people will relate to it to varing degrees without nessisarily understanding fully what it means to have it.

It was hard enough explainimg it to professionals. You are explaining something they have, you don't and that thing is fundermental to their understanding of what thinking is. That is a challenge as I found out.

One encouraging thing is it might change the "image" of ASD as people who all think in images or paterns or have photographic memory.



naturalplastic
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05 Oct 2019, 5:27 am

firemonkey wrote:
With me it's no images,smells,sounds,taste or touch. I had known I wasn't able to visualise for years, but had thought that was the norm.

In 2005 I did a guided imagery relaxation course at the mental health centre. We had to listen to a tape of a beach scene and imagine the sounds etc while relaxing our bodies. For me there was nothing. It came to me that if not being able to visualise was the norm it would render such a course redundant . That was obviously not true as .


Sorry.

I know this is going to be annoying because it's off topic.

But my aspie mind just gets bothered by bad word usage. So here it goes.

I get the point of the story,but you seem to be using the word "redundant" wrong.

"Redundant" does not just mean "useless", or "nonfunctional" . It means "useless for the specific reason that it is a repetition of something else".

A fifth wheel on a car would be "redundant".

But even the first four wheels on the said car would be "useless" if the car had no engine. Useless, but not "redundant". Your insight came from realizing that the relaxation course would be like four wheels on a car without an engine if most humans were like you (your aphantasia rendering you being like the car without an engine).

In a world where aphantasia was the norm the course would not work, but but it wouldn't be "redundant".



firemonkey
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05 Oct 2019, 5:59 am

^No problem . Unless we are all the superhuman beings that some claim us to be we all have our off days/, be it verbally or otherwise .

You made a good point. . None of us however good we are verbally are immune from a verbal error from time to time.


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firemonkey
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05 Oct 2019, 6:07 am

naturalplastic wrote:
firemonkey wrote:
With me it's no images,smells,sounds,taste or touch. I had known I wasn't able to visualise for years, but had thought that was the norm.

In 2005 I did a guided imagery relaxation course at the mental health centre. We had to listen to a tape of a beach scene and imagine the sounds etc while relaxing our bodies. For me there was nothing. It came to me that if not being able to visualise was the norm it would render such a course redundant . That was obviously not true as .


Sorry.

I know this is going to be annoying because it's off topic.

But my aspie mind just gets bothered by bad word usage. So here it goes.

I get the point of the story,but you seem to be using the word "redundant" wrong.

"Redundant" does not just mean "useless", or "nonfunctional" . It means "useless for the specific reason that it is a repetition of something else".

A fifth wheel on a car would be "redundant".

But even the first four wheels on the said car would be "useless" if the car had no engine. Useless, but not "redundant". Your insight came from realizing that the relaxation course would be like four wheels on a car without an engine if most humans were like you (your aphantasia rendering you being like the car without an engine).

In a world where aphantasia was the norm the course would not work, but but it wouldn't be "redundant".


Repetition of 'but' - just to show we all make mistakes :)


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05 Oct 2019, 7:18 am

Naturalplastic not to be a stickler but there is also a variant that means surplus to requirements. E.g. being made redundant or losing your job. That doesn't mean the job still exists in the entire economy.

In IT redundancy means additional copies (whether or not they are all currently used). As we assume rightly that failure will happen at some point this is not useless. Language is fluid.



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05 Oct 2019, 7:59 am

I can visualize things to a limited extent, by my "mind's eye" functions much like a crappy TV set.

I get flashes of images, and those images are of poor quality and don't last long. For example, when I read, I don't "see" anything. In order to visualize what's going on in the book, I have to stop reading and try to come up with a picture before returning to read. As I read, I "hear" the words in my head, but I "see" nothing.

On my IQ assessment, my absolute highest score was on the verbal reasoning test, and my absolute lowest was on the non-verbal reasoning test.


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