How might aphantasia and seasonal affective disorder be related??


After coming across an article on aphantasia I am fascinated.  I am hugely creative (making connections to seemingly unrelated things) but feel like I only “see” things in my mind based on “knowing” about them (as in the quiz). My memory is terrible, but what I do remember seems to come from actual photographs?? If I try to remember past experiences I seem to conjure images of photographs from that time in my life?? And weirdly, I am obsessed with vision boards. They are definitely how I “see” the future! My big question is this… I live in a cold (and dark) climate and have suffered from seasonal depression for years. I’m a new person when I am in the sun and am convinced that it is related to the way my eyes process light. I’ve imagined drops that would give extra dilation in winter months or SOMETHING that could be done to replicate the feeling I get from the light of the sun in Florida. I have used a light therapy lamp and believe it helps as do tanning beds. Do any of you think these issues are related to possible aphantasia?

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The first question you have to ask is in what possible way could it be connected in the first place? If you don’t have a solid hypothesis grounded in some kind of basically sound reason to think the two are linked in the first place then the question itself can not be reasonably answered as it has no basis to be asked.

You also state that “If I try to remember past experiences I seem to conjure images of photographs from that time in my life??” which is not consistent with having aphantasia, if you have images in your mind then you do not have aphantasia so there’s contradiction in your post, I’m guessing that’s probably from inadequate explanation, maybe if you could explain better what you’re talking about and perhaps provide some basic hypothesis that would reasonable link the two things you’re talking about then there might be a way to move forward on justifying the question.

As an example, someone asked me the other day if Aphantasia could be related to photosensitivity which I at first dismissed because that’s related to actual vision, but they expanded on that by suggesting the recent paper that demonstrated that Aphantasic do not have a pupillary response to imagined dark/light scenes but visualizers do, then that means that visualizers who are anticipating bright/dark situations to occur might adapt to brightness changes faster because their imagining the bright light will cause their pupils to contract where ours won’t so we might get a sharp pang during brightness more frequently because we can not anticipate it through our imagination.

That’s a good rational hypothesis that seems sound and could be tested.

What have you to provide for a hypothesis on your question? How would you test it?

Not sure of your background, but I was under the impression this is a forum to share experiences… My question is posed from the perspective of seeing black when I try to “picture” something in my mind… It seems there are different levels of the manifestation of aphantasia. The article you refer to on pupilary response was also a part of what provoked my question. I believe it might be a big part of seasonal affective disorders. The essence of creativity and discovery is in connecting seemingly dissimilar concepts… I’m not a scientist. I had hoped there might be others with similar concerns or perspective. If you can’t relate to the question, perhaps you should keep scrolling??

My background is from 20 years of autodidatic research on general sciences and psychology to better understand my mind and how we as humans perceive the world around us. I’ve been aware that I lacked visualization for 30 years which drove my desire to seek knowledge concerning the sciences and psychology to better understand how my mind worked, I discovered the research on in about 3 years ago, I have studied everything that I can find concerning it including all major research that has been done on it and have spent the last year or so conversing with other aphantasic and visualizers as well about this topic sharing experiences.

If you study sensory neurology or general psychology even in a casual manner it becomes apparent quickly that our minds create many illusions that are not necessarily related to the experiences that we think we have which is why questioning the source of any question we ask is so important. We have to learn to sort out what we think from what it is actually going on because our beliefs can sometimes lead us away from connections with the reality that we live in and the only way to grow as an individual is to learn to understand the reality of our minds better.

You say that you believe it may be a big part of seasonal effective disorder, but why? If you want to connect dissimilar things that’s fine and great but there has to be a path between them and there is nothing in the study on pupilar response to imagined content that would have any coherent link to seasonal effective disorder, at least no connection you’ve tried to explain, so where does your belief come from? Why should aphantasia and SAD be connected? That’s all I’m asking. Because if you can explain or demonstrate an actual link I want to know about it as I want to know everything I can about it and share it with others. I am here to learn and share all the information that I’ve absorbed in this time I’ve spent studying it.

You did say it was black behind your eyes but you also said you conjure pictures in your mind so your account here is from a plain reading of the text not consistent, this is not an accusation I’m simply reading the words that you wrote and asking you for clarification. I’m just trying to get you to expand on your initial post for some clarity so that maybe I can get to the point where I can come up with or look into answering the question you’re asking here in a better manner.