Welcome, Guest
Username: Password: Remember me

TOPIC: Aphantasia on a continuum

Aphantasia on a continuum 1 year 10 months ago #39342

So I'm currently doing a bunch of readings on mental imagery just to make better sense of aphantasia and I've been having a few conversations with other people as well.

Since creating/conjuring mental images seems to involve complex neural networks throughout the brain, the ability to synthesize senses and recall memories varies. Obviously there's total aphantasiacs, some who can't visualize but can imagine other senses, etc.
[see - Zeman et al: Loss of imagery phenomenology with intact visuo-spatial task performance: A case of “blind imagination”
- Marks, Tatsuno, Vemura, Ashida, & Imamura 1990 study
- Kosslyn (1980): imagery depends on several different components or subsystems rather than localized mechanisms ]

also not so sure about how accurate and valid these studies and publications are, so please correct me if i'm wrong or let me know if they're inaccurate!

This website defines aphantasia as when someone can't synthesize senses in their mind, and it seems to be mainly associated with the visual aspect. I understand, however, that there are numerous possibilities and combinations of aphantasia on the spectrum since our minds are complicated and there's more than one type of mental imgaery. Naturally, people would be "weaker" in creating mental images in some senses (vision, smell, taste, touch, movement, etc) than others, and that one's ability for each type of imagery can vary.

So I was talking to a friend about aphantasia in relation to the different senses and types of mental imagery, and she told me that while she can clearly imagine and "see" things in her mind, she can't do exactly the same for touch. I asked her to describe what happens when she imagines the touch of fur, and she described it as imagining the hand motion of petting a cat, and that she knows what it feels like and can think of it, but can't actually recall it. (which is language an aphantasiac would employ, right?)

She's a fairly strong imager in other senses except touch, and I guess my question is if this places her on the continuum? She technically cannot synthesize touch in her mind, but I've also been wondering if this is a normal occurrence because of how complex our minds are. Like I'm sure there's a lot of "normal" people who can't exactly imagine as well in other senses, and I'm just in a muddled mess about trying to understand the lines between a type of aphantasia and , for a lack of a better term at the moment, a "normal" brain wiring.

I'm so sorry for the long post for such a small question, but I hope someone can help me out! The mind is very intriguing and hard to navigate haha. I guess I'm just having a hard time because I don't know how the rest of the world thinks so I would love to talk about it!
Last Edit: 1 year 10 months ago by rerohernandez.
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Aphantasia on a continuum 1 year 8 months ago #39422

  • moyer
  • moyer's Avatar
  • Offline
  • Junior Aphantasiac
  • Posts: 142
  • Thank you received: 32
  • Karma: 5
Great post!

The consensus here seems to be yes it is definitely a continuum. Additionally, aphantasia seems to have initially been "discovered" based around mental visual imagery but definitely includes the imagination of other senses. My personal guess is, considering your friends deficient touch imagination and other anecdotal evidence that indicates variation in visualizing individuals abilities to imagine other senses, mental visual imagery seems to be the most used of the imagination in people without aphantasia. So one might say that a visualizer does not have aphantasia despite an inability with other senses, OR that they are somewhere on that continuum but not anywhere near what most total aphantasics experience.
thats just like...my opinion man.
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Aphantasia on a continuum 1 year 8 months ago #39429

  • hannahcantsee
  • hannahcantsee's Avatar
  • Offline
  • New Aphantasiac
  • Posts: 4
  • Thank you received: 1
  • Karma: 0
I agree that it's a continuum. I've talked to a lot of friends about the kind of senses they experience in their mind, and there is a lot of variation between the nature and vibrancy of images and strength of sensory experience. I have had some people tell me the things they visualize are dull, almost black and white, compared to real life. Others have said their mental images are more vivid than what their eyes see.
The administrator has disabled public write access.
Time to create page: 0.155 seconds