When people say people with aphantasia have no imagination…


It’s annoying. I can imagine things. I just do it differently than people who can visualize. I can buy a lottery ticket and spend hours planning what I would do with the money if I won. I can think about what life would be like if computers had never been invented. I can create a rich world of characters, places, and events when writing or telling a story. 

Despite what some of these researchers seem to believe, my brain is not broken. Nor do I need  pity. This is not a disability. Sure, I guess I miss out on some things that brain-sighted people experience. For instance, I’ll never be able to close my eyes and picture my dad. That’s not great. But I will also never need trigger warnings on things either! I don’t have to relive the worst moments in my life involuntarily because I stumble upon a clock that is the exact same clock as the one in the room where I was raped. I don’t have a flashback to watching my friend get shot every time someone gets shot in a movie or book I’m enjoying. Some would say I’ve forgotten about it since I can openly talk about things like that…they don’t know what they’re talking about. I remember these events, I can sit and describe them in great detail 35 years later. The events were horrific, yet I was able to cope with it pretty quickly because my brain isn’t constantly making me relive those moments. 

The one thing I will never understand is how people think brains built like mine are weird. Really? These people are all out here hallucinating stuff in their brain and I’M the weird one? 


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I am sorry you had those experiences. Yes it must be weird to have visual (and auditory hallucinations all the time) I had wondered if aphantisia could be triggered as a defence to traumatic events but cant find anything to support that hypothesis.

This is what I was wondering as well. However, I have done a bunch of healing and this hasn’t brought back visual imagination for me, as I had hoped it would.

Where did you learn this about the ability to suppress internal visualization beginning around seven years of age? I’m curious and would like to know more. Thanks.

I love this: “These people are all out here hallucinating stuff in their brain and I’M the weird one?”

The majority’s experience with being able to visualize does seem way more bizarre to me than my experience of seeing nothing but the blackness of the inside of my eyelids. Especially since it’s taken me 60 long years to learn about aphantasia, and that when people say they are picturing something they literally mean that they’re picturing something.

I mean — like in the movie “The Sixth Sense” — most people could say that they see dead people. Weird. (I have to say, though, that I’m jealous that most people can visualize the loved ones they’ve lost.)

I believe that professionals in the field of cognitive science or psychology have got it wrong, they seem to believe that aphantasia is an INABILITY to visualise, but people with aphantasia visualise freely when dreaming, hence aphantasia must be a learned ABILITY to suppress irrelevant visualisation probably to enhance logical thinking. This is backed up by the fact that many engineers and other clear-minded persons use aphantasia.

The professionals in the field of cognitive science or psychology like Zeman, ‘discovered’ aphantasia by investigating a person who had had trauma to the head. The patient had LOST his prior ability to create internal visualizations, so all early research on aphantasia is based on an assumption that it is a DISABILITY to not use images in thinking, wheras if they had started by investigating fit free-thinking persons they would have realised that aphantasia is a learned ABILITY to avoid visualizations when thinking.

Since it seems likely that the ability to suppress internal visualization is learned at about an age of 7 years, there is no way to determine that an individual person NEVER had the capability to produce internal visual images.