How can we begin to understand something as personal as your conscience. This grey area of uncertainty has led to a few people wondering, could it be possible aphantasia is a misunderstanding of how a visualisation appears?
This and many more questions have been raised in our forum. To answer these questions, we have a crowd research section on the forum where members can ask questions to see if we can find common ground, using these polls we can look at areas where a more scientific approach might be of use.
In my opinion, a good way to approach any question that relates to the subjective experience of aphantasia is not to ask how they feel different, but to ask why others seem different to them. That may seem like asking the same question, but it forces the individual not to reflect on what they experience, but to reflect on the understanding of how they perceive others ability to visualise.
We know we are different, we can't visualise, or form any synthesised sensory experience in our mind. However, to deepen our understanding we must understand how we differ from the general public.
This was a question asked on a facebook group for people with aphantasia "Could it be that us who believe we are Aphantasiac, just have an unrealistic idea of what "an image in front of us is"?"
This is a question I have been asking myself for the last 17 years,"am I expecting more than what is normal?". I have asked other people how they visualise, how powerful is it, can you see little aliens running around? The clearest example of difference came recently, I was driving in traffic, my wife could look at the road ahead, close her eyes, and it was like they were still open.
Those kind of answers make it clear to us, that we are different.
We are building up a body of information from people with aphantasia and slowly we are forming an overview of aphantasia.
So far we have learnt that aphantasia doesn't stop you from being an artist, an engineer or a designer. Obviously it wouldn't, but we have been asked how can you draw if you can't visualise. Aphantasia isn't a disability, but a different way of thinking, a different way of being creative. Aphantasia is not a closed door to creativity.
While aphantasia isn't a disability, it could be viewed as a difficulty in certain situations, but also a benefit in others.
Aphantasia looks like it could have a genetic aspect, where some people have parents, siblings and children all with aphantasia.
We are also starting to see that people feel they have been misdiagnosed with another condition, when infact aphantasia explains their reason for having difficulties then their diagnosis does.
We are at the early stages of a journey of discovery, the more people who join in, the more we can learn.