People who suffer from aphantasia are unable to visualize imagery. Individuals with aphantasia are unable to construct an image of a scene or face in their imaginations, although other people can.
Consider yourself sitting on the edge of a swimming pool on a hot summer day. The sun is shining, and children are laughing and splashing around in the water. When you think about this scene, what images do you have in your mind?
You may be unable to visualize any form of image in your head if you have aphantasia, which affects an estimated 1—3% of the population.
These people either lack a "mind's eye" or have a limited imagination. People's ability to visualize events and images is very significant in their life.
Scenes, people, experiences, imaginings, items, and planned occurrences are some of the things that humans visualize. When you think about a friend, for example, you might see their face in your mind right away. Aphantasia is the inability to visualize such a mental image.
If you asked someone with aphantasia to imagine anything, they would most likely be able to describe the object, explain the notion, and reel off information about it. However, they would be unable to associate this knowledge with any mental image.
Do you believe you have aphantasia? Think about the following issues:
Consider a close friend or family member. Try to conjure up a mental image of their face. How well can you see their features, including their face, hair, and body shape?
How well do you recall their distinctive movements and gestures?
How well do you recall the person's attire?
If you have trouble answering these questions, you may be suffering from aphantasia.
New and Emerging Research
Although this lack of mental imagery was first noted in the late 1800s, it has remained a little-studied phenomenon. In an 1880 study on mental imagery, Francis Galton described the phenomenon for the first time. He stated that other persons had no visual imagery at all, in addition to observing that people experience varying degrees of vividness when expressing their mental visual imagery.
Although more research is underway, the illness is still mostly unstudied and poorly understood.
The majority of the data comes from a few short studies and anecdotal experiences from patients who have detailed their symptoms.
It wasn't until the publishing of more studies that the idea gained traction. The 2015 study was the first to utilize the word aphantasia, which sparked increased interest in the condition
A patient, patient MX, addressed the study's authors after he had recently lost his ability to visualize information as a result of minor surgery. In 2005, a retired 65-year-old man went to see Adam Zeman, a neurologist at the University of Exeter Medical School. The man, identified only as MX in the literature, had undergone minor surgery and discovered that he could no longer visualize images in his head. Zeman looked through the medical literature but couldn't find anything that explained why the man couldn't generate visual images in his "mind's eye."
Researchers have long questioned how this mental ability to imagine works and what role it might have in planning and remembering. Despite the fact that the patient claimed to have had almost little imagery, he performed normally on tests of perception, visual imagery, and visual memory.
Following the publication of the patient's case facts in 2010, the researchers were approached by a number of others who claimed to have had identical symptoms their entire lives.
Another study undertaken by University of New South Wales researchers looked into whether people with aphantasia were truly unable to form mental images or if they merely had poor recall of such images.
The researchers instructed participants to envision an image using a technique known as "binocular rivalry." The participants were then shown two separate images via a 3D headset. One eye saw one thing, while the other saw something entirely different.
People without aphantasia are more likely to view the image they had previously imagined when prompted to imagine one of these images beforehand. There was no link between the imagined image and the dominating image seen by the public. These findings show that persons with aphantasia don't have poor recall of their visual imaginings since they don't have any to begin with.