About the network
Aphantasia Network is on a mission to shape a new, global conversation. We’re creating a place to discover and learn about aphantasia, and building a bridge between new scientific discoveries and our unique human experience — to uncover new insight into how we think, learn, create, dream and remember with blind imagination.
Our vision is to realize the potential of the ~3% worldwide with blind imagination by providing a space to share stories, ask questions, discover some of the latest science and explore practical strategies for improving the life, work and well-being of people living with aphantasia.
Tom Ebeyer was among the first 21 reported cases of ‘congenital aphantasia’ mentioned in the original scientific paper by Dr. Adam Zeman in 2015. The paper was picked up by media outlets, including the New York Times, which led to an outpouring of new discoverers who also identified with having aphantasia.
Tom quickly realized there was no available support or information for people with a ‘blind mind’s eye,’ so he began building the foundations for a network. Tom’s story was picked up by CBC’s Doc Project in 2019, and the episode Think of a Horse produced by the network’s Creative Director, Paul Aflalo, aired several times across Canada on CBC Radio.
In January of 2019, interest in extreme imagination, aphantasia and it’s opposite hyperphantasia, or extremely vivid mental imagery, grew considerably when Ed Catmull, founder and former CEO of Pixar with Steve Jobs, was profiled on BBC News as also being ‘blind in the mind’s eye’.
In a surprising survey of Ed’s former employees, Catmull discovered so too do some of the world’s best Disney animators like Glen Keane, the creator of The Little Mermaid. Since the discovery of aphantasia, media attention has been growing steadily including receiving a mention in the Netflix original series, Space Force with Steve Carell. Dr. Zeman’s original paper now scores in the top 5% of all research interests on Altmetric.
It became apparent to co-founders of the Network, Tom and Jennie that people across the spectrum of imagination needed a place to discover and learn about aphantasia. To explore some of the latest science and share stories about this unique variation in human experience. The pair began building Aphantasia Network in Sept 2019. Aphantasia Network is now the #1 place for discovering aphantasia, a condition impacting more than 3% of people worldwide.
After hundreds of conversations and interactions with people from all over the world, it became clear that aphantasia isn’t necessarily an all or nothing. In fact, many aphantasics report imagery in some of the other senses. But there was no way to quantity the spectrum of imaginative experiences.
During the 2020 global pandemic, Tom and Jennie set out to build the world’s first digital assessment measuring the spectrum of sensory imagination. Imagination Spectrum measures the vividness of your imagination across mental imagery senses – visual, auditory, olfactory and more. The product is set to release in October 2021, at the Extreme Imagination virtual conference.
Since launch, the Network has grown beyond their imagination. Even if Tom could picture it. The Network is sustained by a dedicated team of volunteers, it’s supported by humble patrons and strengthened by members from across the globe. Guided by world-leading scientists, Imagination Spectrum aims to develop the world’s first cognitive profile of imagery extremes, aphantasia, hyperphantasia, and everything in between.
Jennie is a founder, futurist and award-winning experience designer. Her futuristic intervention, NaturePod, is a published case study in The MIT Press, ‘Discursive Design: Critical, Speculative and Alternative Things.’ Jennie’s currently leading the design of the Imagination Spectrum.
Dr. Kelly Aminian
Kelly holds a BSc, MSc, M.D., and is currently pursuing her neurology residency at Dalhousie University. Kelly played a foundational role in the development of the Imagination Spectrum psychometric, and is currently on the advising committee for the platform. She is also an award-winning harpist with aphantasia.
Fiona is a research consultant with a PhD in Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour from McMaster University. Her expertise is centred on sensory integration and its impact on human cognitive processes. Fiona is currently advising the research and development of Imagination Spectrum.
Paul Aflalo is a storyteller, documentary filmmaker and radio producer who has a deep curiosity into the human experience. Paul is the executive producer of the Imagine That! podcast.
Zach is a builder, with a passion and drive for building community and connecting with other like minds. He’s currently exploring techniques for strengthening community engagement and outreach strategies to more meaningful connect the global aphantasia community.
Mónica is a highly motivated professional with over 15 years in the hospitality and private investments. Her mission is to raise awareness about the diversity of thought processes, aphantasia, hyperphantasia and everything in-between. Mónica is on the organizing committee for the Extreme Imagination conference.
Harrison is pursuing his doctoral degree in counseling psychology. He is interested in exploring the impact of aphantasia and mental imagery in the mental health and counseling field, and is currently writing about these topivs and impacts for the network.
Emma is an aphantasic Graphic Design student at Oklahoma State University studying toward her bachelors degree. She is passionate about art and design as well as her discovery of aphantasia. She is joining the team as a volunteer designer to assist in all things graphic while also learning more about aphantasia along the way.
Dr. Adam Zeman
Dr. Joel Pearson
Joel is the founder and director of the UNSW Future Minds Lab. A hands on empirical lab that develops new methods to scientifically study all related aspects of innovation using Psychology and Neuroscience. Joel studies the mechanisms and application of mental imagery, by using behavioural, human brain imaging and brain stimulation techniques.
GET IN TOUCH
We’re always looking for new collaborators.
Are you working on a project related to aphantasia, hyperphantasia, researching extreme imagination, or interested in media?
Fill out the form below and we’ll be in touch.