Which characteristics are due to aphantasia?


I read many comments that ascribe certain characteristics to aphantasia – often contradicting comments in other posts (e.g. someone said they are able to follow a map without having a picture of it in their mind and they suggest this may be due to aphantasia; whereas I have a terrible sense of direction and cannot recall maps – and I also blame this on aphantasia). It may just be that one of us is good at this and one is terrible – and it has  nothing to do with aphantasia?

I believe I have full sense aphantasia as I cannot imagine smell, sounds or images. This has never really caused me a problem (I’m 56) but it blew my mind when I realised other people can imagine these things and that led me to this amazing site.

I have many characteristics that I had ascribed to aphantasia  until I read the comments in this discussion: as well as the terrible sense of direction, I am pretty much face blind (I couldn’t describe my wife of 33 years – but I do recognise her when I see her …. I’m hopeless recognising anyone who is not a very close friend. Even with very close friends/relatives I couldn’t tell you if they wear glasses, what type of hair they have etc). I cannot recall what colour our walls are (even though I painted them). These seem linked to the lack of visual mental imagery but maybe I’d be hopeless at these things anyway? I’ve had a very successful career and never worried about these “deficiencies”

I have a maths degree and I’m very practical in making things – but have zero creativity. I can manipulate objects in 3D in my head without visualising them … hard to explain but I’m sure you know what I mean – and yet I constantly get lost and cannot picture where I am v the map.

I find this fascinating – I just wonder what things are really due to aphantasia and what is just due to natural variation in skills?

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