I’m an aphantasiac and I’ve been diagnosed with schizoaffective/psychosis but I don’t have visual hallucinations. Do aphantasiacs experience visual hallucinations?

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on March 23, 2021

Hi J_baby, I was just discussing this with Prof Reshanne Reeder, who recently conducted a study on flickering-light-induced “pseudo-hallucinations” (her term for intentional hallucinations) in aphantasics and imagers. Essentially, they had participants watch a steadily flickering light which is known to reliably induce visual imagery in all people, referred to as the Ganzflicker effect. Here is an excerpt straight from the study:

“We found that imagers were more susceptible to ([pseudo-hallucinations]), and saw more complex and vivid ([pseudo-hallucinations]), compared to aphants. This study provides compelling evidence that the ability to generate visual imagery increases the likelihood of experiencing complex and vivid anomalous ([perceptions]).”

To break it down, the aphantasics almost entirely only experienced simple illusions, of color and/or geometric patterns, while the imagers experienced illusions more frequently and also experienced complex illusions, which included objects and/or environments.

I have, since an early age. I was in second grade when I realized that other people weren’t seeing what I was seeing. It’s the auditory hallucinations that really get to me though. I hardly get the visuals. ~also diagnosed with schizoaffective/other

My recent dxes have been Asperger’s/ASD +schizoaffective  & then ASD +schizophrenia. In 46 years with severe mental illness I’ve had just one very brief visual hallucination. That was seeing my wife a few days after she died.