DiscussionsCategory: QuestionsIs Aphantasia hereditary?
Jennifer McDougallJennifer McDougall Staff asked 9 months ago

Zeeman is quoted here saying aphantasia is ”heritable to some degree.” Do you have parents, siblings or children who are also aphantasic? Discuss here.

Chris KingChris King replied 9 months ago

I’m aphantasic, as is my father and his twin brother. None of my kids seem to be, however. They take after their mother. I think it’s reasonable to suspect a genetic component to this.

My dad, uncle and I all seem to have the same senses impacted, as well. We can do sound, but nothing else.

Max BarberMax Barber replied 8 months ago

I have one daughter who is aphantasic, and one who isn’t.

Danielle LyonsDanielle Lyons replied 8 months ago

My mother is aphantasic. My daughter is 3.5 so I’ve tried to ask, but she doesn’t really understand the questions yet.

Dave Brannigan replied 6 months ago

I have an identical twin who is aphantasic while I am not. It's something that I've struggled with to reconcile – how are we so fundamentally different in that regard? I stumbled on this discussion while trying to find any studies anywhere about twins differing with aphantasia, but haven't found anything.

8 Answers
Rachel HoweRachel Howe answered 8 months ago

I can’t speak for others, only my own experience. I am an aphant, as is my half sister. One of her sons is. Two of her sons are not. We are fairly confident our father was, but he passed away when we. were childen

Jennifer McDougallJennifer McDougall Staff answered 8 months ago

Thank you all for sharing your familia ties to aphantasia. @Chris King, your comment about "we can do sound, but nothing else" piqued my curiosity. I have read this is the case for other aphants as well. How many of you share similar exepriences, like this one, with your family members? Is it visual or all senses for you and the members of your family?

David LubelDavid Lubel answered 8 months ago

It should be relatively easy for someone to do population study to answer this fairly conclusively. I strongly suspect thst it is more common than appreciated and that there is a genetic cause. I have aphantasia as do my three children. My three siblings don’t. My wife’s mother and sister have aphantasia but she doesnt.

Jennifer McDougallJennifer McDougall replied 8 months ago

I completely agree, David. It would be relatively easy to do a population study to answer this question conclusively. I hope that as aphantasia garners more public attention that researchers will pick this up and conduct more comprehensive studies. I would also be curious about the cross-cultural implications and how prevalent it is in one region of the world or another (if at all). The challenge will be “diagnosis,” is VVIQ as a self-report instrument a reliable measure? Or would this need to be linked with MRI scans, and other scientific tests, etc. Or even with some new technological instrument yet to be discovered/invented. This tends to get expensive/resource-intensive. Any thoughts on this? In terms of how common it is, that remains a mystery to me. My hunch tells me you’re right… though some people might confuse seeing “faint images” in their mind’s eye as not seeing any visual imagery at all. I know I catch myself wondering… can I really see images in my mind? It’s not a very clear “yes” or “no” as I imagine myself somewhere in the middle. Perhaps my mental images are simply not as clear for me as someone with hyperphantasia.

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