Aphantasia - Curious about Prominence in the Community.

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NewCandle
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09 Sep 2020, 7:24 am

When awake, do you have the ability to conjure vivid images in your "mind's eye"?
Or do you, when trying to picture something, just barely know what it's going to look like?
Close your eyes and picture a close family member or friend - Do you see them? How realistic?
Or is it a complete... blank?

Did you think the term "mind's eye" was a flight of fancy?
Did you, like me, think that the idea of a "memory palace" was a foolish concept, far beyond reality or possibility?

Aphantasia is a divergence that science has only recently stumbled upon - I mean, it's not even in the spellcheck dictionary on this site! - because who would imagine that brains work differently? And who would discuss it? ( 8O ).

The site won't let me post a poll yet (I have been gone a long time, sorry folks), and I can't seem to link to youtube either, so can't offer a quick video essay on it (search youtube for aphantasia - the vid by amyrightmeow isn't bad). So in order to give you a better idea of what I mean, I'm going to include what my poll would have asked:

Aphantasia; How visual are your waking thoughts? (best answer)

I can conjure Vivid mental images, with animation and 3D rotation.
I can conjure Vivid mental imagery, but maybe not make it move.
I struggle to create a mental image of memories and ideas.
I see a hints or memories, or hints of memories, when I try to conjure up images.
Maybe I see something, but it's very vague.
I see only one world - eyes wide open. There is no "mind's eye".

Discuss?



PhosphorusDecree
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09 Sep 2020, 8:16 am

"I struggle to create a mental image of memories and ideas."

I do have a "mind's eye," but it's not always active, and when it is the "images" are sketchy and faint. I can do 3D rotation puzzles, though it feels less like I'm rotating an object and more like a mathematical process. I only recently realised that other people had more vivid mental images. When someone describes something really gross and everyone else goes "Aaaaagh! Fetch the brain-bleach!" I'm sat there completely unpeturbed. I didn't realise they could actually see what was being described!


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ToughDiamond
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09 Sep 2020, 7:08 pm

I can imagine fairly simple images such as a red star, but anything more complicated is rather vague. I don't know how severely I've got it, because I've not found a good online test that doesn't demand my contact details. I suspect I've got a bit of aphantasia but not a lot.



Robbie Sallos
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09 Sep 2020, 7:26 pm

It's a good band!



Oh wait. ;)

I can conjure images in my mind when prompted, but often they're vague, like a weak TV picture through static, maybe? For all I know that's how everyone's "normal" mental images work. I often find that, say, when a book is adapted for screen that my picturing of a setting is different but that's to be expected I suppose.



strings
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09 Sep 2020, 8:25 pm

I see nothing at all in my "mind's eye." I just don't have one. In fact I never realised that anyone else actually had a "mind's eye" until I first encountered an article on aphantasia. I always assumed, if I even thought about it, that other people were just wildly exaggerating when they spoke of seeing images in their mind.

The option that appears in some of the aphantasia multiple-choice questionnaires which says "I see no mental images, I just "know what things look like" " describes me quite accurately.



Dear_one
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11 Sep 2020, 8:42 am

It is said that Tesla could construct a machine in his imagination, run it, and then tear it down to check for wear. I don't go that far, but I do have useful mental images. Feynman didn't realize that he had mental images until someone asked him if he could recall the shape of a crankshaft, and then what words had come to mind.
I can retain a memory of, for instance, a piece of furniture, and see if it would fit in a new space. However, I also do a lot of sketching and scale drawings to help with accuracy and spot errors.
I'm not nearly as adept with images of living things. When I read descriptions of scenes in books, I usually gloss over them rather than trying to see them, but I could.



FleaOfTheChill
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11 Sep 2020, 9:39 am

If I try to picture something in my mind, I don't see anything. I can try to imagine what something looks like based on actual memory of a thing, and spout off details, or get a general idea but I don't see it. Like I know one of my children has brown eyes that are the same color as her other parent's. I know that means solid brown with no flecks of green or anything. I know that her eyes are not as dark brown as my SO's so they are a medium brown to me. I know her eyes are more closely spaced on her face than father apart. But can I literally see them on her face in my mind? Nope.



Dear_one
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11 Sep 2020, 9:55 am

We all look at the same world, but our memories of it vary widely in accuracy. This can be noticed in the way cartoonists draw common objects, sometimes missing details that are obvious to me.

At least one artist looks at a blank canvas, and imagines that the finished painting is there, just covered with dust. Then, they use one brush to uncover the blue parts, and another for the red parts, and so on.

I hear stories about a very eccentric artist who couldn't paint a shed, nor paint a scene when alone, but with an audience, he was incredible. There is a large painting hanging in a coastal pub that looks like a kelp forest with an old anchor laying on the bottom foreground. It often takes patrons many visits before their eyes follow that anchor chain back and see a whole shipwreck, overgrown. Once you see a few parts, it all just pops out of the murk.



blazingstar
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11 Sep 2020, 11:16 am

strings wrote:
I see nothing at all in my "mind's eye." I just don't have one. In fact I never realised that anyone else actually had a "mind's eye" until I first encountered an article on aphantasia. I always assumed, if I even thought about it, that other people were just wildly exaggerating when they spoke of seeing images in their mind.

The option that appears in some of the aphantasia multiple-choice questionnaires which says "I see no mental images, I just "know what things look like" " describes me quite accurately.


This is my experience too. I have become somewhat upset at realizing how impoverished I am not being able too see things or people in my mind.


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ToughDiamond
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11 Sep 2020, 11:21 am

Dear_one wrote:
We all look at the same world, but our memories of it vary widely in accuracy. This can be noticed in the way cartoonists draw common objects, sometimes missing details that are obvious to me.

Might it be that they know about the details but miss them out because the people who see their work are expected to fill them in? Apparently it's something we do, which is how minimal representations work. Originally I disliked drawings that had things missing like that. Even with photographs I wanted everything to be absolutely clear-cut with no blurred or murky parts. Just about every aspect of art seems to have been alien and disagreeable to me, to begin with at least.

Interesting idea that the ability to draw or paint from imagination could be an indicator of the clarity of the visual imagination. It would tend to prove there must have been something there if a person is able to draw it without peeking at the real thing. My drawings tend to come out inaccurate in some respects, but I can always identify the faults. That suggests that I can imagine objects and scenes quite well, but I just don't have much talent for drawing them. And it doesn't mean I can imagine things with the same instant clarity as (I suppose) others can. I think I tend to "see" small parts of things in detail, rather like shining a narrow-beam lamp onto an object that's otherwise in darkness. Until I was taught better, I used to draw by starting at one end of an object, drawing it in detail, and moving on like that gradually until it was done, and naturally the overall proportions would turn out wrong. And I initially hated the idea of roughly drawing the whole object first. To my mind, it was wrong to make any marks on the paper that were in any way rough - that would have meant I was deliberately making mistakes, which went against my grain.



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11 Sep 2020, 2:31 pm

ToughDiamond wrote:
Dear_one wrote:
We all look at the same world, but our memories of it vary widely in accuracy. This can be noticed in the way cartoonists draw common objects, sometimes missing details that are obvious to me.

Might it be that they know about the details but miss them out because the people who see their work are expected to fill them in? Apparently it's something we do, which is how minimal representations work. Originally I disliked drawings that had things missing like that. Even with photographs I wanted everything to be absolutely clear-cut with no blurred or murky parts. Just about every aspect of art seems to have been alien and disagreeable to me, to begin with at least.

<snip>


No, Shultz was amused by Watterson's "bun-like" shoes, and it is obvious that many cartoon eyes can't rotate. However, Larson put a car's transmission in the middle of the driveshaft, and the hay bales in "Cow & Boy" had their twine running parallel to the hay, holding nothing. OTOH, if you see a steam locomotive in a children's book, the odds of the boiler and cylinder being in proportion are better than in many "steam revival" engineering drawings.



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11 Sep 2020, 4:49 pm

Can't imagine-images,smells,sounds,taste or touch.


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11 Sep 2020, 5:46 pm

Quote:
I can conjure Vivid mental images, with animation and 3D rotation.


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14 Sep 2020, 4:25 am

NewCandle wrote:
When awake, do you have the ability to conjure vivid images in your "mind's eye"?
Or do you, when trying to picture something, just barely know what it's going to look like?
Close your eyes and picture a close family member or friend - Do you see them? How realistic?
Or is it a complete... blank?

Did you think the term "mind's eye" was a flight of fancy?
Did you, like me, think that the idea of a "memory palace" was a foolish concept, far beyond reality or possibility?

Aphantasia is a divergence that science has only recently stumbled upon - I mean, it's not even in the spellcheck dictionary on this site! - because who would imagine that brains work differently? And who would discuss it? ( 8O ).

The site won't let me post a poll yet (I have been gone a long time, sorry folks), and I can't seem to link to youtube either, so can't offer a quick video essay on it (search youtube for aphantasia - the vid by amyrightmeow isn't bad). So in order to give you a better idea of what I mean, I'm going to include what my poll would have asked:

Aphantasia; How visual are your waking thoughts? (best answer)

I can conjure Vivid mental images, with animation and 3D rotation.
I can conjure Vivid mental imagery, but maybe not make it move.
I struggle to create a mental image of memories and ideas.
I see a hints or memories, or hints of memories, when I try to conjure up images.
Maybe I see something, but it's very vague.
I see only one world - eyes wide open. There is no "mind's eye".

Discuss?

Well my aphantasia. I Can kinda remember images but its' not real vivid and I don't really see it i just kinda recall ha ti tooks like. I don't visualize I can kinda imagine hwat it looks like but ti's kinda limited. I can Imagine sounds. idk about tasting and smelling.. I'm not sure about those. Seem about the same as trying to visual something. a recollection of the memory of tasting it. Also if you can conjure vivid mental imagery that isn't really aphantasia that might eb something like dysphantasia where you have a specific aspect of it here yuo strugge iwth. in recalling memorys. Interestingly enough I can however dream visually.


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14 Sep 2020, 9:58 am

I can do mental visualization to a very high level. What Tesla could visually do with machines, I can do with molecules and atoms in determining their functions. I can go as far as “viewing” multiple higher dimensions at the same time and see how they interplay with each other. It is extremely useful to me for understanding how the universe is put together.