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.

Our Story

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. 

D
uring 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.

The Team

Tom-Ebeyer Aphantasia Network

Tom Ebeyer

founder

Tom is a social entrepreneur and founder of the Aphantasia Network. Tom’s unique vision is shaping the global conversation around the power of blind imagination, and revealing how this unique variation in human experience shapes the world we perceive and makes us who we are.

Jennie McDougall Aphantasia Network

Jennie McDougall

founder

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.

Kelly Aminian Neurologist

Dr. Kelly Aminian

NeurologIST

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.

Dr.-Fiona-Manning Aphantasia Network

Dr. Fiona Manning

Cognitive Scientist

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-Afalo Aphantasia Network

Paul Aflalo

Executive Producer

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 Dobosh Aphantasia Network

Zach Dobosh

Associate Editor

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.

Aphantasia Network Mónica-Aguado

Mónica Aguado

Events

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.

Jessica-Jordao Aphantasia Network

Jessica Jordao

SoCIAL MeDIA

Jessica, a fellow aphantasic, formally trained in educational theory and online learning. She’s passionate about engaging audiences to further spread knowledge on Aphantasia, and is currently leading our social media efforts to connect with our growing global audience.

Mike Perrotta Neuroscientist Aphantasia Network

Mike Perrotta

Science Journalist

Mike is neuroscientist at Neosensory as well as a software engineer and science writer. Mike spends his time meditating, brewing kombucha, and climbing rocks. Mike is currently writing report for the Imagination Spectrum.

Harrison-Chapman Psychologist Aphantasia Network

Harrison Chapman

Science Journalist

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-Jackson Aphantasia Network

Emma Jackson

Design

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. 

Collaborators

Adam Zeman Aphantasia Researcher

Dr. Adam Zeman

Neurologist

Zeman trained in Medicine at Oxford University Medical School, after a first degree in Philosophy and Psychology. He’s been a consultant neurologist in Edinburgh, from 1996, and has been Professor of Neurology at Exeter University Medical School since 2005. Zeman coined the term ‘aphantasia‘ to describe the lack of a “mind’s eye” back in 2015.
Joel Pearson APhantasia Researcher

Dr. Joel Pearson

Cognitive Scientist

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.

Patrons

Calle Englund • Rachel Lou • livobserver • brian byrne • Devra Kudeviz • Anthony Reinbach • John Bengey • renald miller • Eddy Gurge • Lynn Thies • Wayne Sanderson • Rachel C • Sally Suen • Avi Flax
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?

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