Do I have aphantasia, or is it something else?


Hi Everyone! 

I used to assume I had aphantasia, because I can’t visualize things “on command” – like a pink elephant, for example. However, I watched a YouTube video recently that was like “visualize an apple. what colour is it? etc” and I don’t physically see an apple, but I knew that it was red. I sometimes can “see” buildings when it comes to remembering directions to a location, but it always feels like an optical illusion – if I look any closer, the ‘image’ disappears but if I’m not paying attention it feels like I can see something? I also have had maybe one or two extremely vivid dreams, that I can still remember (eg carpet plushness, pattern, the hustle and bustle of a crowded lobby), but most dreams evoke emotions and feelings rather than what I assume lucid dreamers see. 

When I’m trying to spell a word aloud, I kind of ‘see’ the word hovering in my head (eyes closed only) and I can read the letters, but I can never see the whole word in its entirety – like I know the whole word is there, but there’s something blocking all the other letters until I get to that specific letter (including not being able to see the previous letters). How would you classify this? Is this aphantasia? Or simply dismal memory and recall? 

It doesn’t particularly affect my everyday life, but things like Fischer projections in chemistry, or integration techniques in math seem to rely heavily on being able to see the image in your head and move it around in order to easily answer the question. Does anyone have another workaround? 


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