Perhaps one of the biggest misconceptions about aphantasia; Aphantasia isn’t limited to just visual recall/imagination, it’s all sensory imagery. For example, when most people go to the restaurant, and they see something on the menu they enjoy, they can (kind of) smell and taste it. Or if you think of your favourite song, you can hear the sounds of the instrument in your mind; Think of ‘famous words’ one of your parents or teachers said to you growing up; can you hear these words in their voice?
What’s your experience like? Are just your visual senses impacted? Or all senses?
My experience is exactly the same Tom. There’s just nothing. I feel like a computer just spitting out data. I have the idea of something or know the facts of something and can just recall that. There’s no visual analysis – it’s like it gets done subconciously. When people describe more context around a memory or situation, sometimes that helps me retireve more facts.
I can recognize a tune like it’s nobody’s business, but songs don’t get stuck in my head. At least not the way it would with a mind’s ear. It’s more like my inner monolgue, the one that does the thinking and constant narration, will hum or sing the tune. This is hard to describe. Basically my inner monolgue can carry a tune, but I don’t experience the tune in any auditory sense. I just "know" that my inner voice is hitting the different notes. More often than not, a line or two will occupy my mind on repeat, especially if there isn’t a lot of sensory input or cognition required in the present moment.
Smell. Never had it. Don’t have anything remotely like it. I wonder if they’ve linked this to the emotional detachment.
The closest I would say I get to anything is a kinesthetic sense. If I think about my arm crossing my body to hit a backhand shot in tennis, I can feel my heart rate change and my breath shorten. But that’s about it. It’s like I am motor planning, but the only feedback I get that anything is happening is from my major two organs, and that’s a stretch at best.
I would say not all of my sense are affected. I can "hear" in my head but I can’t taste, or smell and for sure see. I also have emotional responses. I wish that I could not have the emotional response.
I have a physical imagination, like having a hundred tiny hands touching a thing. Or I can imagine what it feels like to be a cat, or a palm tree blowing in the wind.
I can imagine my voice in my head, but no other sounds.
No visuals, tastes, or smells.
For me, it extends to all five senses. I think there’s a spectrum, so for some it might only be some of the senses.
I lack a mind’s ear, tongue, or nose as well. The idea of touch in my mind is totally alien.
I am very good with maps and directions but I don’t make a mind map. The concept of “landmark” based directions has always been difficult for me and I really need exit numbers or routes or street names to know where I am going. Once I’ve been to somewhere once I can usually get back there.
I can conceptualise just fine. I can’t experience though. I can’t smell, taste, feel, hear, or see. My internal voice is different for others though. I can "hear" it singing or imitating an accent (even if I can’t do it aloud). I know how angry feels, I know when I am angry. But only epically large emotional upsets will stay relevant enough to inspire that all consuming emotion (grief, rage, love) in any given moment.
I can do maps and the rotational puzzles – to me it’s like seeing the horse upside-down. I think of the image reflected, turned, etc. I don’t often do it easily, I have to concentrate but I can do it. I used to have to turn the map around but I got better at that.
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