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Benefits to being aphantasic?

DiscussionsCategory: QuestionsBenefits to being aphantasic?
Zografos Caramanos asked 1 month ago

Have you found any benefit from being aphantasic?

David Sweeney replied 4 weeks ago

I am, training to be a hypnotherapist and part of that training involves being induced. A lot of hypnotherapy focuses on visualisation going to the safe place etc. It is very difficult for other students to understand that, I do not have a mind eye and do not visualise. Getting to the point, when asked by a follow student to describe my safe place, I realised that it is here and now, not some other place, some imagined room in my sub-conscious but the present. There is no way, I can know if is advantageous to be present but it is certainly not harmful.

2 Answers
Jennifer McDougallJennifer McDougall Staff answered 1 month ago

This is a great question, thank you for asking.
Research on strengths is still in it’s infancy, however there is anecdotal evidence out of the UK that aphantasics excel in fields like math and other logic-dominated fields. That said, there are clearly successful aphant creatives, like Ed Catmull, co-founder and former CEO of Pixar (responsible for creating Disney classics like Toy Story, Bugs Life, Inside Out, etc).
A new study that just came out showed aphantasics as having equally high spatial accuracy as non-aphants, and make significantly fewer memory errors, with no differences between groups in the perceptual condition. You can read more here.
Early evidence that aphants may also be less effected by PTSD.
Zeman (who coined the term ‘aphantasia’) has also suggested that aphantasics are more likely to live in the present, and have an easier time being present in the moment as they are not distracted by visual imagery of the past or future.
We’re working on a major article to cover these strengths & more. If anyone else has uncovered research into possible benefits we would love to hear from you!

Don Dornblaser replied 1 month ago

I just discovered that I have Aphantasia and it has me reflecting on so many things. One thought that crossed my mind… I tend to forgive very quickly, and I’m always surprised when others don’t. Now that I realize other people have the ability to replay events in their mind’s eye, I wonder if that’s significant. Maybe people Aphantasia are more likely to be forgiving because they don’t have a visual record of past events. OTOH it also means we can’t replay the event to try to reconsider the other person’s behaviour.

lihi michaelilihi michaeli replied 1 month ago

Ive never seen it like this, wow.
Thank you for this.

Roberto RojasRoberto Rojas answered 4 days ago

Just as Don Dornblaser describe, I can’t hold a grudge, when needed I can intellectually act as if I was, but is very tiresome and seldom useful; Probably because to me all memories, like imagination is like someone giving me the answers not showing me the data; I’m good with spatial tasks and in college (I studied engineering) I was actually above average in those "visualizing task" like rotating graphs, "projecting" function graphs from diferenc coordinates, etc. But is like a detached answer and the same with memories, no feelings with them, I can recall how I felt but doesn’t bring any emotion to the now. The more I read on this site the more I get at the same time that surprise that not everyone thinks like me but also some do. I seldom delve in the past and when I do, again, no emotion with it, I think it helps to get a more "useful" memory about myself, I think that if I did feel about my memories I would fall into the same circle that would make harder to look events from a different point of view; I can’t be sure of course but I think I know myself better because of it.

Strangely I can "feel" how would do something imaginary, not much but some, but from memories nothing at all.

I can also be easily distracted, I have a thousand interests; I think that if I could form pictures in my mind I wouldn’t even get out of my bed; already is too entertaining inside my head and that’s just with the speachless conversations with myself and "simulations" of people I know and some fictitional ones.

And now that David Sweeney talked about a "safe place", I recalled that when I was a kid my happy place was any small place, even sit in a corner looking the walls at the smallest corner. No imaginary place, just fabricated ones.

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