How should I answer the test?


Hi. I am trying to do the test to figure out if I have ahpantasia, but I do not understand the instructions. On the first question is ask me to think about a friend and carefully coneider the picture that comes to my mind. The two first options are: 1) No image at all. 2. Dim and vague. None of those fit my experience. My situation is that I get a quick flash of picture of a small part of my friend. The flash disappears in a second or two and afterwards I cannot bring the picture back. When it is gone, I do not see anything, but I can remember some of the details of what my friend look like.  So, what should I answer?

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That’s how I am, I am thinking I see a glimpse of that person, but if, in fact, I am seeing a glimpse, it goes away immediately and cannot be recalled. I can’t even remember with words what I think I saw for that fleeting moment after the initial flash. I answered “1” for that because in my head it is more of an initial firing of neurons when the brain is asked to call something into it and that initial firing creates what we think are images. Other people I’ve read about say it is an image and answer “2”, but to me it’s not really an image. Can you recall the shape of her eyes? What does his nose look like? I can tell you my mom is blonde, but, sadly, if she is not in front of my face with my eyes open I really cannot describe her to you at all. It’s as if I’m recalling an “aura” of “essence” of that person when I’m recalling them. How about missing people that you’re close to. With me, I don’t remember how much I missed someone until I see them again in reality or in the physical sense (like FaceTime or whatever). I always felt bad because I never make the first attempt to call people…I always thought that I must think I’m better than them and they have to call me, but now I realize that I don’t think of them if I’m not seeing them. My sister’s daughter, my niece, is 2 and half years old and when I told my sister I had Aphantasia and explained it to her, she said “You mean, you don’t see Skye’s face when you leave here and pull out of the driveway?” Nope…and that realization hurt, because it’s not just the fact that 97% of the population of the Earth is seeing mental images, but it’s not until we start to become aware of the things we don’t even know we’re missing when the depth of this come to fruition. How nice would it be to even conjure up an image of my niece and her little curls when I’m feeling sad to cheer me up? Anyway, I answered “1” to that…sounds like you’re about there also.

Good question Bjarne. When you get these quick flashes, how vivid are they? The length of time someone is able to hold an image in their mind will vary from person to person. VVIQ only measures imagery vividness when compared to the experience of “actually seeing your friend”.

We are working on a new assessment to measure vividness across the senses -sounds, taste, touch. New platform is launching soon, you can find more details here. In future developments, we’ll be exploring Imagery Duration i.e. length of time. Hope this helps!

I just registered and am waiting in line to take the test, but the question would be difficult for me for a different reason – I would get no image at all, but I would come up with a kind of fast, word picture (she’s about my height, dark hair, a little overweight, great laugh, etc. that make her real to me). I look forward to the test, though, and hope it helps me understand. But as I type, I wonder if when you say about getting a flash of a picture, it might be a little similar to what I go through – I don’t get an image, but do get a bunch of words/thoughts that give me an idea of her and then it slows down to describing as many details as I can, which is often very little. I’ve always thought of myself as “a big picture person” rather than “a detail person”, when in fact it’s no real picture at all.  So I guess I’m asking: do you really get a flash of a picture or is it just a bunch of words/thoughts that give you a sense of your friend. And I apologize if I’m trying to make your experience the same as mine – it’s pretty new to me to understand that when people “visualize” they are actually seeing a picture, and I am struggling to understand both how others “see in their minds” and how I do what I’ve thought was the same thing, but is very different, apparently.

Hi All you who have responded to my question –  Thanks. Your answers have been very helpful. I see that there is a large variety of ways that people imagine their environments when they are away from trhem. Some see flashes of images (like me), some just remember very well and create words-memories that are more or less “vivid”  –  and some do both. For some reason the website does not take me to your responces and neither does it allow me to respond to your responces. Too bad. Consequently I cannot answer or say thank you in person. Too bad again.

Howe3ver, the main message I take with me for all this is  –  wow what a rich world we live in, what a fabulous variety of experiences. We should treasure this variety and see it as the rich souce of knowledge that it is. Hurrah for all the weird ways to see, feel, hear, taste, think about and react emotionally to “reality”  –  whatever “reality” might be. Cheers, Bjarne

I have exactly the same experience. I see a picture in my mind briefly for a nanosecond and then it is gone and irretrievable. If I have a photograph of the requested image, like a Facebook profile picture, it will replace today’s reality and appear for a second and disappear, again with no replacement. I can’t hold a picture for more than a blink, to describe what I see. There is no video aspect to it at all.  I can have a conversation about what I saw. If you ask me to imagine my mother I will imagine a photograph of her flashing briefly, even if I saw of her today 20 years later. I might answer “I saw my mother being silly at the restaurant.”

I experienced the exact same thing! I find it very hard to answer the test’s questions because I’m not sure I can really differentiate between “seeing” an image and just reacalling the facts about an image. I also get this sorta flash of an image but then my mind goes black, the image is gone and just the knowledge about it remains. I can best describe it as a lightning bolt in the night. For just a millisecond everything lights up and you can see the stuff around you. Then it’s completely dark again but the image sorta stays in your head.

I’m pretty sure I have aphantasia but I don’t feel confident in myself to know the difference between “real” imagery” and whatever happens to me. I’m trying to compare my experience with something I’ve never experienced so how could I know? I’m also afraid that I might be biased and trying to get a certain outcome.

I answered “2” on most of those questions, as what I “see”; is just a still image. for example picturing my wife, all i see is a vague “photo” of her from our first date. it’s a real photo but unlike the real photo there is no context to the image, just her flesh toned face and maybe hair. if you ask me to “picture” and apple i get a basic image…. something people would post as a reference image just a 2D flash image no movement no depth. kinda like an emoji . I have also discovered recently that trying to describe my images, is like describing a breeze.