Do I really have aphantasia?

I’m really confused. Maybe a little bit scared even? I’m not even sure. I just want to share my story. I have this obsessive need to talk about this. It’s blowing my mind. Last night I found out that aphantasia is a thing. I am 29. I was watching some interesting video about people who do not have an inner monologue. This baffled me. How could someone think without talking to themselves in their head? Then the guy said (implying that this was even more unusual) that some people can’t even visualize images in their mind. Hold up. People actually SEE imagery in their minds? Nah, it’s just an exaggeration or something, right? Well, many hours and a sleepless night later, after reading and watching countless things online, I finally accepted that these people exist and how I think may not be the norm. And to my astonishment, the “image”

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Can you meditate?

Meditation has been recommended to me by a variety of health professionals. I’ve read about it and honestly given it my best effort, but I don’t “get” it; I don’t enjoy it, it doesn’t relax me, and I don’t seem to have the benefits all the various studies say should come with regular meditation. If you have aphantasia, what is your experience with meditation? Do you have a particular source that worked for you more than others?

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How do you perform on mental rotation tasks?

Mental Rotation (MR) is a technique leading researchers studying aphantasia have used to better understand how the visual processing systems differ in the brain of an aphantasic. For many years, it was believed that you needed mental imagery in order to complete such tasks. According to Zeman’s 2010 study, patient MX (who developed aphantasia after undergoing surgery) was still able to perform perfectly on mental rotation tasks despite his inability to create mental images of the objects in his mind’s eye. It was also discovered that some people with aphantasia actually perform better on MR tasks than others. The findings have puzzled many scientists. How do you perform on MR tasks? What alternative strategies do you use to solve them? Complete some MR tasks here. Remember to share your answers, time to complete and any new insights here!

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What alternative learning strategies do you use?

There’s so much we have yet to discover about what it means to "learn with aphantasia." Fascinated by this post from 2016, which makes the case for why leaners with aphantasia are likely to experience difficulties with learning; “as mental imagery seems to be especially important for reading comprehension and learning word meanings, and according to at least one theory, is a cornerstone for literacy.” To contrast, this post from 2019 states that while a learner’s ability to create images in their mind is linked to various improvements in learning, the absence of this ability may lead to alternative strategies that enhance rather than hinder learning. What’s been your experience with learning something new? What alternative strategies have you tried when acquiring a new skill such as reading or writing? What’s worked? What hasn’t worked? Why?

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Participate in Aphantasia & Psychological Traits Study

Researchers from the University of Bonn Institute of Psychology, B. Sc. Kristof Keidel & B. Sc. Merlin Monzel, are investigating the process of visual imagery and its relations to different psychological traits as well as psychiatric states and phenomena. Study takes 45 minutes to complete. Participation is completely voluntary. You can cancel participation at any time. Chance to win $20 Amazon voucher. People interested in participating in the research can do so here If you have any questions contact: Merlin Monzel at [email protected]

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Participate in World-First Brain Imaging Aphantasia Study

To determine why some people cannot create visual images of people, places and things in their mind’s eye, UNSW scientists are planning to conduct a world-first brain imaging study of people with this baffling condition, known as congenital aphantasia. A team led by UNSW Associate Professor Joel Pearson has launched a crowd-funding campaign to raise money to carry out functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies to try and understand the neurological basis of mental imagery. The proposed fMRI study will try to uncover any structural and functional differences in the brains of people with aphantasia. People who think they have aphantasia and are interested in participating in the research can contact the laboratory at [email protected] The project is being crowd-funded on the everyday hero platform for those interested in contributing to the research. More info here

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