How did you discover you were hyperphantasic?

Discovering that your imagination works differently than most other people; That your inner world of imaginative experiences is not, in fact, the norm; can come as a bit of a shock! 

Especially so, for people without sensory imagination who experience aphantasia, but also for those who might find themselves more on the opposite side of the imagination spectrum

When you experience hyperphantasia, or extremely vivid sensory imagination across all or most of your senses, it’s all too easy to go about regular life thinking and believing that everyone imagines the same. When in fact, we all imagine differently.

Are you just realizing you have hyperphantasia?  Did some small part of you intuitively know, think or question your experience might be different than others growing up? When did this occur? Where were you? Who were you with? What was your initial reaction? How has your thinking changed or evolved since the discovery?

Share you discovery story with hyperphantasia below.

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I knew from a pop biology test taken in high school that my visual memory was much stronger, both for objects and written words – my aural memory, by contrast, is well below average.  However, I had absolutely no idea that my visual imagination was any different – I found out when someone suggested that I submit my artwork for the first Extreme Imagination exhibition!  Even then, I felt like a fraud until I had a chat with Matthew McKisack (the curator of the exhibition) …  I guess we just don’t compare our inner visions, but just take them for granted.  I have paid a lot more attention to my inner visions since then,  and they seem to be getting even more vivid in response.

I am an lifelong artist, have a BFA in studio art but spent my career in graphic design (retired); I feel my strongest ability is being able to create realistic artwork from what I can see (but can draw to a lesser degree from my imagination if I concentrate). I have been reading about aphantasia/hyperphantasia and the lack of other senses; I am curious about smell especially as I have never been able to smell or at least acknowledge an odor! (I have had several medical tests that show nothing wrong.) I did fall off the side of steps onto a concrete floor as a toddler,  which knocked me out (but no other damage) … I have read that your sense of smell can be affected by injury? So I guess what I am questioning is whether my creativity could be due to missing my sense of smell… my other senses are fine (except my hearing at age 66!) and from what I hear, sometimes I’m grateful that I can’t smell!! 😀  I started reading about these experiences in a Facebook post in an artist’s group about aphantasia, but I didn’t really understand whether they meant you could actually SEE an object (when you close your eyes) or if you are just “seeing it in your mind’s eye” (imagining, which is what I think I do.) Can you explain the difference? When I close my eyes I see gray/black but I can imagine things vaguely in my mind but if I concentrate on specific areas in the ‘image’ I will imagine/see details…? Thanks!

I’m only now fully realizing it and admitting it the uniqueness of it. That said, I’ve always intuitively known, I think, but I’ve had to painfully suppress it throughout my youth due to others having little tolerance for it in their lives.

Until recently, I guess I thought everyone could vividly imagine (and remember) across all their senses, including motor, place-based, real and fantasized, pleasing and traumatic. It wasn’t until reading Temple Grandin’s Visual Thinking that it occurred to me that other people had different levels of ability on a sense-by-sense basis. I took the assessments and discovered that I’m hyperphantasic across the entire spectrum of senses. It freaked me out, to be honest. It was a bit overwhelming.

It was a revelation that brought a sense of relief but also grief and loss. After many years of wondering why others couldn’t seem to see the world or imagine things as I do, all the self- and societal invalidation that accompanied that confusion suddenly had a simple explanation. I actually do see and imagine things differently than 99%+ percent of others. That, at least (ironically), wasn’t in my imagination.

I now have a partial answer for why I’ve been so successful in my field and struggled in relationships. I often feel clairvoyant in planning and predicting outcomes. My emotions feel blended with others and large groups. I get lost in my imagination as it’s superimposed over our reality. If I’m not careful, others have difficulty relating to how I express my ideas (i.e., hyper-sensorially). A big, new question is, what do I do with this now that I understand it better? How do I begin advocating for my needs more effectively while also humbly considering diverse experiences in my work and relationships?

Pero podrías describir tu sentidos, uno por uno, como lo experimentas?

  1. Hola, yo descubrí que era hiperfantasioso no solo con imágenes(con imágenes soy fantasioso) pero con los sonidos soy especialmente hiperfantasioso ya que puedo reproducir cualquier sonido que ocurra ni bien acaba,como por ejemplo el sonido de una bocina de carro, cuando mi padre y otra persona termina de hablar, el ladrido de mi perro, y música por supuesto, etc, aunque solo por un determinado tiempo.