What realizations have you had since learning about aphantasia?


My girlfriend has hyperphantasia for all mental senses. It blew my mind when I learned some time ago she can accurately taste in her mind what a dish will taste like prior to adding a new ingredient (very useful for cooking). But her mental tastebuds just blew my mind again.

Get this: When reading a restaurant menu, she tastes each item before deciding what to order! 🤯

Now I understand why it takes her longer to decide, and why she likes to read all the details about the ingredients when they’re listed.

I’m curious to know other surprising facts you’ve learned or realizations you’ve had after learning about aphantasia. What was non-obvious that people around you were doing in their heads? How did your perspective change more generally?

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That I had aphantasia post-concussion and that not one of 8 different medical providers I went to back then were aware of this or made the connection, even the one functional neurologist who helped me because he suspected I had a visual processing problem. Four months of the basic eye exercises he prescribed cured a range of aphantasia-related sensory issues, mostly visualization-related.

Wow! Now THAT is a superpower I would love to have. I mean, yeah, very useful for cooking, but being able to “sample” dishes on a restaurant menu and then decide, that is just amazing!

Since you ask, I was surprised by something I learned from an article on here today: the practitioner started by asking me to visualize… I told her I couldn’t do this… She asked me if I could imagine myself floating. Just floating. I said yes. (I recently learned that the ability to do this may be associated with motor imagery, something not everybody can do). from https://aphantasia.com/hypnosis-with-aphantasia/

I can do that too (not specifically floating, but motor imagery in general). It helped me learn to dance, and I was surprised that not everyone can do it. I just assumed everyone could do it, since I know that they use it in sports and music as a way to practice without physically doing the movements. I guess that’s kind of the opposite of your question, finding out that not everyone can do a thing that I take for granted.

I hope you get more replies; I’m also curious to see what other non-obvious things people do. I find it very interesting to compare our different experiences and learn about all the variety that exists. 🙂

I have always had full-sense aphantasia and only discovered other people can really “see” things in their minds very recently at the age of 56. To be honest it all blows my mind! I cannot imagine what it’s like to see/smell/hear/taste things using your mind. 🤯

I bore my friends with it all the time and I keep discovering things I didn’t know. Yesterday a friend asked how I can spell if I can’t see the word in my mind. It never occurred to me that people can see words like that. He can read Chinese characters and explained they are more akin to pictures so wondered how Chinese aphantasiacs can read. I’m just blown away by the thought that people can see words – I suspect that’s one reason my friend can speak several languages and I hit a brick wall after English.

When I tell people about aphantasia, their response is usually “what do you mean? You really can’t see images in your mind?!”. I reached out to my two younger sisters and their response was “what do you mean? You’re telling me people can actually see images in their minds?!No way!” – I guess we’re a family of Aphantasiacs 🤔  

Hi there! I’m a Chinese American aphantasiac!

I have some pretty immense trouble writing the characters themselves, like all the brush strokes are completely lost on me. I can’t see the word in my mind, but I can still recognize it when I read it. I assume it’s a lot like seeing a picture of anything. Even if I can’t imagine a horse in my head, I still know what a horse looks like. I can still recognize a picture of one in a lineup. I never thought of my problems with writing Chinese as an aphantasia problem though! I think that’s something I’ll probably be thinking about for a long time 🙂

I was SO annoyed to find people can actually plan their lives in a series of visual steps to achievements with a reasonable expectation of success. I have always gone with the flow – taught by my mother to ‘meander’ not ‘wander”. Now at 82 trying not to work out what I could have done/been with the capacity to envisage the future. But then, I think I have gone along with whatever the Universe or Whomsoever deigned. And at the end of the day, will it matter?

When I’m struggling to relax/sleep I try to visualise a relaxing scene but obviously that fails due to my aphantasia. But I do imagine myself in a different scenario …. But I’ve only just realised there is no visualisation at all. I imagine things like sheltering in a dark cave; laying in a tent at night; hiding in a shelter in the woods …. All of them are completely pitch black. So I’m imagining what it would feel like in those scenarios without seeing them. I don’t know why that’s only just occurred to me – I’ve been unable to visualise for as long as I can remember so I guess this is just a workaround to achieve the same effect.  

Today I’ve learned that I have aphantasia, and have had all my life 54 years. What a revelation that I’m not actually abnormal, I can stop worrying and start understanding how I imagine now. My friend has a large fantasy world, I couldn’t comprehend how she could see what she’d tell me. I’d sadly say I have no imagination. No wonder I detest TV.. Or if I find something I can watch, it takes me several episodes to know the actors and what their roles are. I’d still forget. Words are very important to me, spoken mainly. I also suffer with anxiety and depression. 

i watched an interview with and investigator into SDAM. Dr Levine i believe.

It was very interesting. One of the things he said was that there was ZERO evidence of what is popularly known as photographic memory. Much of what Aphantasics envy simple does not exist. If you say you cannot visualize you should not be surprised that the response is exagerated as in “Oh yes. I have photographic memory”. That would be useful if it existed but simple visualization is not particularly useful given that 95% of the world can do it. Not an USP (unique selling point).

Envy is one of the deadly sins. it has no positive aspect but in so many Aphantasic posts it is there.

i am not going to question if you partner can really do what she says. it does not matter any more than the fact that your neighbour is taller than you.