Is Aphantasia a short cut?

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I wonder if my mind just prefers to process the raw data from my memory without bothering to reconstruct the pictures. Clearly the memory is there or I would not be able to recognise faces etc. Maybe I just cut out a step. If this is true, could this more direct remembering help reduce internal "translation" errors? Could it be that my memories have already been incorporated into a bigger conceptual "picture "? Also, is it possible that there are so many details in my gestalt recollections that I just can't relate it to reality without generalising? I seem to easily make connections and creative links between things that others don't and I wonder if this is related to aphantasia.

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I’ve been wondering this also. It frequently baffles me how people don’t make the connections I do between obviously related ideas and concepts. It’s incredibly useful to be able to see a ‘big picture’ like this, both professionally and in personal matters.
If our ability to do this is related to aphantasia, I can’t help but think the trade-off from not being able to visualize is well worth it. though I think it would be interesting, I don’t see the need to be able to reconstruct the image if I can retrieve information about it in another way.

I never thought of “skipping a step” as a possibility. Makes sense. I gather lots of information and have recall through words and verbal connections – it’s more of just knowing – b/c it’s definitely not seeing. Takes me a while to put a face with a name though

I’ve always though it as having the process in the backstage and just not sharing the feed; I’m very good with spacial reasoning while being 100% aphantasic. I recently read a study that proposed that it may be related with the noise to signal ratio in the communication between part of the visual cortex and the hippocampus¹ and another linking Aphantasia with an asymmetry in the connectivity from the retina to the visual cortex and the same in reversed direction (I couldn’t find the ref now). It’s too soon to tell, but both seem like reasonably explanations.

¹Monzel Merlin, Leelaarporn Pitshaporn, Lutz Teresa, Schultz Johannes, Brunheim Sascha, Reuter Martin, McCormick Cornelia (2024) Hippocampal-occipital connectivity reflects autobiographical memory deficits in aphantasia eLife 13:RP94916