Kann Aphantasie dazu führen, dass man sich anders fühlt als andere: reichen die Auswirkungen über das Visuelle hinaus?

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Ich habe meine Aphantasie erst vor ein paar Jahren entdeckt (ich bin jetzt 81 Jahre alt), war mir aber immer bewusst, dass ich nicht wie andere denke, und mir war vage bewusst, dass viele ein reicheres Innenleben zu haben schienen als ich. Obwohl mein IQ bei 135 liegt, bin ich beim Schach und vielen anderen Rätseln hoffnungslos unterlegen. Ich vermute, dass sie nur mit dem Auge des Betrachters erfolgreich sein können. Ich bin in manchen Dingen hoffnungslos, aber andere Dinge, die für mich völlig selbstverständlich sind, sind es für andere nicht.

Da ich kein geistiges Auge habe, bedeuten mir viele literarische Beschreibungen nichts – wenn man die Beschreibungen weglässt, was bleibt dann noch übrig? Ich gehe davon aus, dass ich niemals PTBS haben kann, da ich mich an nichts Visuelles erinnern kann.

Ich vermute, dass es bei mir über das Fehlen des Visuellen hinausgeht, denn ich kann weder Gerüche noch Geschmäcker wiedergeben. Ich frage mich, wie weit die Auswirkungen für andere reichen?


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I have a very similiar experience to yours. Even before discovering I am aphantasic I thought differently than others.
In my case, I do enjoy chess and puzzle games. It can take me a lot of time to solve difficult puzzles, but in my experience it’s possible to solve most of them without the mind’s eye.

I fully agree that bad experiences and memories don’t affect me as much as they might others because I can’t relive these times inside my head. Without the mind’s eye we don’t “go through it again” when thinking of our past.

And for the main question: I also can’t imagine smells, tastes, feelings or sounds. I will recognize what I know when I hear, see, smell, feel or taste it again as some kind of déjà vu, but I won’t be able to imagine anything without experiencing it.

I suspect I have a small working memory as I very rapidly get lost in chess trying to remember possible moves though this is not pictorial memory. On IQ tests I’m around 135-140 so that can’t require large working memory or  pictorial memory.

I’m a here and now person as the past means very little to me as I can’t imagine any of it. I seem to have had enhanced abilities to sort out some technical problems which might be related to aphantasia. Possibly this is like the mind compensating for blindness with enhanced hearing. Anyway I was often called in to sort out knotty problems on systems as to my mind these were easy whereas other engineers couldn’t see the wood for the trees. As I have no visual memory I’m not sure how my mind was working to do this but answers appeared. I also came up with unusual solutions for designs – again probably my mind was treading a different path from most people.

I am similar.  I am 61 and pretty much figured out that I had not sensory memory other than sound for very familiar and patterned sounds (such as songs that I have heard very many times.)  It was a revelation.  Like you, I knew I was different – that I processed stimuli differently and learned in a different manner than most others.  However, realizing that I had virtually no direct sensory memory explained so much.

Plenty of people with aphantasia have PTSD (myself included) as you don’t need to have visual flashbacks to qualify as a diagnosis. I have emotional flashbacks as one of countless symptoms. I have no idea what memory I’m in, or what is happening. It’s completely debilitating. Having aphantasia actually makes it much harder to heal from PTSD because almost all therapeutic modalities targeting trauma require sensory memory recall or imagination– EMDR, Rapid Eye, Brainspotting, Somatic Experiencing, IFS, psychedelics assisted therapy (ketamine, psilocybin, MDMA, ayahuasca, peyote, ibogaine, etc. etc.)