Is aphantasia hereditary?

DiscussionsCategory: QuestionsIs aphantasia hereditary?
Crawford KirkwoodCrawford Kirkwood asked 5 days ago

i have always had it, as far as i can remember, my children have it and my eldest grandson could see in his minds eye, till he turned 13, and now he says he cant see anything. SO IS IT HEREDITY?also does anyone eles find speeling hard when you cant see the word?

Jennifer McDougallJennifer McDougall Staff replied 5 days ago

Haha, it's her*ed*itary. Difficult spelling had to look it up myself! I find it more helpful to sound it out then to try to visualize it in my head, but I am phantsic so this may not apply to our aphantasic friends. The exact cause of aphantasia is still unknown. According to Dr. Zeman, who's the lead scientist studying aphantasia and who coined the term, heredity and environment both are likely to be relevant causes. Some aphants have come forward and shared similar experiences, where more than one family member seems to possess the condition like in the case of your children. Interestingly, some aphants have reported having the condition since birth while others have reported abruptly losing the ability. Such as in the case of patient MX who underwent heart surgery and lost the ability to visualize images and other sensory imagery in the mind. It's also worth noting that sensory imagery is a muscle, without practice, you can lose some of your abilities over time… but this does not mean it is non-existent. I cannot say with absolute certainty what is true for your eldest grandson. Perhaps more people will weigh in with their experiences and perspectives that could help illuminate some new insights into this question.

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