Memory Capabilities


I’m 17 years old and have had total, multi-sensory aphantasia all my life, although I only realized mental senses could even exist a few months ago. From what I’ve gathered, the vast majority of people with aphantasia have a hard time with memory (especially people/faces), but I don’t have nearly as much difficulty, and I think I know why. As a young child, my mom would play a game with me called Velma Vision, which was very focused on memory. I have noticed that when I’m describing a person, I do it in the exact way that my mom taught me to describe the characters in Velma Vision, who would appear for only a few seconds before you had to recreate what they looked like. My mom always had me learn their faces in order of eyes, eyebrows, nose, lips, face shape, hair, then ears. From then on I have memorized and described people in that exact order with extreme detail, even better than some “normal” people can, without even realizing it. There’s obviously never any sort of picture in my mind as I do this, I just logically know that those are the features of whoever I’m describing. Although I definitely still struggle with memorizing certain people/things (if I don’t care that much or something else is happening, I don’t bother to put effort into memorizing anything), it seems to be nowhere near as hard for me as others with aphantasia describe. I’m fully convinced my mom inadvertently trained my memory and that without this training I would be hopeless at remembering and describing people. 

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Hello Ava, what a useful memory technique your mom taught you! Aphantasia seems to overlap with another condition called SDAM or severely deficient autobiographical memory. Some aphants might also experience prosopagnosia or face-blindness. This strategy seems like it might be quite useful for people with difficulty remembering events or people. Thanks for sharing!

Hi , Ava! You are very lucky that as a child you were forced to remember faces. I did not have such happiness; the memorization of faces was automatic; and gradually began to weaken with age, which even applies to individual details. Of course, I am unable to draw specific faces from memory.