Aphantasia is a deep connection to perception but can it be seen
The former president of Disney and Pixar animations, Ed Catmull, revealed that he had aphantasia. He led the company in developing 3D graphics and directed tons of animated movies. In his latest interview, he explained how an artist in the movie Frozen drew the characters in a vivid way, which is a sign of aphantasia. The former Walt Disney executive was also said to have had this.
Jonas Schlatter was an individual with aphantasia who scored low on a vividness questionnaire. He had thought phrases like “fading memory” were simply a phrase, but after attending a house party where he met a friend with aphantasia, he realized he was mistaken. He realized that he was suffering from aphantasia when he learned that his eyes are telling him they were seeing two images at once.
Researchers have tried to establish whether or not aphantasia exists by using objective methods to measure low-level sensory elements involved in imagery. The researchers have found that it affects people who are poor at visualizing images. However, the methods to measure this condition are not yet universal. The researchers are looking at the feasibility of scaling their new method and running it online. They are hoping to develop an accurate global test that can be applied to millions of people with it.
The study showed that aphantasia patients’ pupils were different when imagining light objects and those in the dark. The researchers then tested the effects using a repeated measures ANOVA (RMA) on the diameter of the pupils during the perceptual period. Interestingly, the task timeline was the same for both groups. The only differences were observed during the imagery condition and the light-colored group.
Researchers have found that participants with aphantasia did not exhibit a pronounced pupillary response to bright or dark shapes. This is likely due to their lack of visual imagery. In other words, aphantasics must exert more cognitive effort to keep a larger number of shapes in their minds. This finding is the first physical validation of the condition. It’s a promising step in finding potential treatments.
One recent study sought to determine whether the mental images of eye pupils reveal aphantasy. The study’s participants were asked to imagine different pictures, and then shown two images via a 3D headset. While the other eye saw one picture, the other was unable to picture any of the images. The researchers found that this result suggests that aphantasia is caused by a lack of the mind’s eye.
In a study of 18 aphantasic participants, researchers asked them to visualize four shapes at the same time. When these participants were asked to imagine the shapes, their pupils dilated. This result was not different from the control group. The participants with aphantasia did not show a distinct response when they were asked to imagine the images of two shapes. This is in line with previous research, which shows poor attention spans and struggles with reading and writing.
The researchers also found that the mental images of eye pupils revealed aphantasia. When participants are asked to mentally draw a picture, they can imagine the object in the center of the drawing and place it in the original scene. People are able to place objects and draw only a few details from memory, which may indicate a problem with visual coding. They also report that they cannot remember objects in pictures because their mind is unable to process these visual details.
These findings suggest that aphantasic participants are unable to recognize objects in the dark and that they fail to respond to light-colored images. However, the lack of response suggests that aphantasics are not able to use imagery and thus must exert more effort to keep larger numbers of objects in their minds.
Therefore, the results of this study will be interesting for researchers across a number of fields.
It is not clear whether aphantasia is a psychogenic condition. Almost half of the aphantasic participants report that they do not experience imagery in either the ear or the eye. However, they may experience imagery in other sense modalities, the most common of which is auditory imagery. Therefore, it is likely that it does not result from a lack of active engagement, but from an absence of active engagement.
Jonas Schlatter was said to have scored low on a questionnaire on vividness. This made him believe that fading memories were mere phrases. This belief was later rebutted when he attended a house party where a group of people discussed the simultaneous visualization of visual images. Apparently, aphantasia is a real thing, and may be often accompanied by other neurological issues.
Although the study is a preliminary one, it provides an important first step toward understanding the relationship between aphantasia and visual imagination. Eye pupils apparently reveal this and imagination vividness by revealing the pupil diameter in people and those without it. As a result, people with aphantasia do not respond to visual imagery when they try to imagine light and dark objects.
Researchers have long known that the size of the eye’s pupils correlates with the level of visual imagination. Using this study, they found that participants’ visual imagination was affected by the amount of light they were exposed to. However, this study revealed the extent to which the images in their minds were vivid or dull. In addition to the ability to visualize, eye pupils also reflect their perception of visual reality.
Imagination vividness in aphantasia
Aphantasia is a condition in which the person cannot mentally represent things in their imagination. Though it may be frustrating, this condition is not a problem in itself. Individuals with it can still mentally represent information through other means. They may use words or symbols, others report using their’mind’s nose’. In some cases, individuals with aphantasia even report having kinaesthetic imagery.
Despite the name, aphantasia does not imply difficulty in recognizing other people’s faces or recognizing objects. Individuals with it can recall objects, concepts, and movements, but cannot draw a mental image of them. In addition to this, aphantasia does not affect smell. However, individuals may not be able to draw a mental image at all.
Researchers have found that individuals with aphantasia report fewer dreams and less vividly imagined future scenarios than their peers. While aphantasia does not appear to be associated with trauma, it appears to be hereditary. Although research is at an early stage, it has some informative associations. The next step is to test this hypothesis by studying it.
In the study, many participants in both groups of patients reported that imagery vividness affected their relationships. However, in those with aphantasia, imagery vividness predominantly negatively impacted relationships. Those with hyperphantasia reported the opposite. In fact, the research findings indicate that aphantasia could be underlying condition in other brain disorders.
Those with aphantasia report either a complete lack of visual imagery, or ‘flashes’ of images. Although the effects on vision may have been proven, aphantasic individuals may still have some degree of apprehension. Imagination vividness may also be a symptom of a disorder of the mind.
Imagination vividness in hyperphantasia
This article outlines recent research on the neural basis of visual imagination. The Eye’s Mind project examines the role of the visual imagination in culture. It involved three strands of research: a review of the history of the visual imagination in thought, a meta-analysis of visual imagery studies, and the study of individuals at the extremes of the vividness spectrum – from aphantasia to absence.
One way to gauge a person’s vivid imagination is to ask them to imagine a song they like. Those who are able to visualize the song can hear the instruments and the tempo. People who have hyperphantasia can visualize a song from a different genre entirely. Similarly, those with normal visual imagery can imagine a song in another language.
However, those with hyperphantasia may have trouble understanding or articulating their images.
However, having a vivid imagination has its disadvantages as well. It can lead to an excessive amount of thinking about trivial things, and can cause people to lose touch with reality. This disorder can also be harmful if someone is trying to work in a field that relies on logic. People with hyperphantasia often get stuck in their heads and cannot perform their daily tasks because their thoughts are too distracting.
Among those with this disorder, Nikola Tesla was suspected of having it. He would build things and test them in his head, allowing him to create and test ideas. Tesla would then test these inventions to determine if they worked or not. He would also imagine alternative solutions to a particular problem. Interestingly, he was able to visualize many possible outcomes in the future. Although the diagnosis of hyperphantasia may remain unproven.
For now the mystery is debatable but there is still aphantasia to study.
Provided by Antonio Westley
Disclaimer: This article is meant to be seen as an overview of this subject and not a reflection of viewpoints or opinions as nothing is definitive. So, make sure to do your research and feel free to use this information at your own discretion. I am not health care professional nor do I claim to be a health care professional. This information is meant for educational purposes only and should not be considered iron clad professional health information in the slightest. If there is any reason this condition is relative to ones health then feel free to consult a doctor or health care professional for more advanced and proper assistance – Reader Discretion Advised!