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TOPIC: IT professionals with aphantasia?

IT professionals with aphantasia? 1 year 8 months ago #39634

  • GP
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As a business analyst/project manager/consultant, I am interested in how aphantasia affects the way I work. There are definite disadvantages (e.g. not remembering what your clients look like!). However, the inner workings of computer systems are not visual and I wonder if the coping mechanisms of those without the ability to visualise makes dealing with abstract concepts easier. For example, I seem to have an easier time dealing with multi-dimensional data than most people. Is that because they instinctively build a visual representation, which is necessarily limited to three or four dimensions?

I'd love to hear about the experiences from others who work in IT.
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IT professionals with aphantasia? 1 year 8 months ago #39639

  • DeathWhinny
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I'm a web developer and have also been asking similar question of quite a few colleagues, having thought that aphantasia might give me an edge because I'm not distracted by images and can focus on the details of my code and the logic of how all the pieces fit together.
To my surprise, most of the developers I have spoken to were blown away that I could code without visualisation! Apparently, when they are writing or debugging code, the rely heavily on the images it produces to help them identify code that doesn't 'look right'.
Although I still think aphantasia gives me an edge in being able assemble an efficient solution, it is difficult (impossible?) to measure and obviously I am quite biased ;)
More objectively, I think this is one of those creative problem solving areas where an MRI would show that our brains tackle the problem very differently but the our solutions are very similar.

As to visualising multi dimensional data specifically, I would guess that people tackle it in chunks. Picture the number of dimensions their brain can handle at once, then shift to view a different set of dimensions with one or more shared axes. I will ask around and let you know if I am anything close to correct.
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IT professionals with aphantasia? 8 months 3 weeks ago #40143

  • dicknose
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Ok a bit late...
I’m a computer nerd, been programming for about 40 years and am pretty damn good at it. Also got a degree in pure mathematics.
So I’d say my aphantasia hasn’t hurt me in techno work. I’m very good at designing complex systems, I have a “feel” for how it should go together even if it’s not visual in any way. I’ve had clients tell me about an issue in code I haven’t touched in several years and without looking at the code I’ll be able to remember how the code worked and a probably cause of the issue and where in the code to fix it.
My sense of direction and navigational abilities are also very good. I have a spacial awareness that isn’t visual. This does seem to help with code, it’s like I can navigate the flow of the code the same way I navigate spacial issues.
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