Visual or all senses?

DiscussionsCategory: QuestionsVisual or all senses?
Tom EbeyerTom Ebeyer Staff asked 1 year ago

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?

Nancy Berke replied 7 months ago

My experience is quite similar. I wonder whether my poor sense of direction is related to Aphantasia – it makes sense as I would think that any kind of “mind map” would be lacking…

Aimee Seaver replied 7 months ago

Maps = impossible. Feels definitely aphantasia related to me. My mom’s the same way, she also has aphantasia.

16 Answers
Luc JeanneauLuc Jeanneau answered 7 months ago

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.

Miranda BassMiranda Bass answered 7 months ago

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.

Aimee SeaverAimee Seaver answered 7 months ago

Partial aphantasia

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.

ANIKA BRKICANIKA BRKIC answered 6 months ago

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.

Space AnarchistSpace Anarchist replied 5 months ago

I can get vague, subtle impressions in all five senses. What I don’t have is an alternate dimension in which to put them. I don’t have inner space or inner type. All of my impressions seem to be non-linear and non-spatial, or minimally spatial, like drawings on a piece of paper. If I try to visualize a place, I can’t actually go inside it, because it isn’t three dimensional, stable, or self-existent. It’s just like a little drawing that I make instantaneously.

Laura FlaniganLaura Flanigan answered 6 months ago

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.

Nicole HeyesNicole Heyes answered 5 months ago

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.

Iblis BaneIblis Bane answered 5 months ago

All senses.

Giovanni SpinottiGiovanni Spinotti answered 4 months ago

I’m actually pretty good with sense of direction and orientation. I think i’m partially imagination deaf, as I can’t vividly recall a voice, I can’t recall notes (I’ve been a guitarist) in my brain, but if I move my tongue, I can recall a song. But I think that I actually have to move my tongue and throat for my brain to sort of "hear" the song.

Jeremy HolmesJeremy Holmes answered 2 months ago

Eh the only thing I have partial of would be sound and even then its really "hearing" it with my internal voice, that being said there is always some tune I’m internally humming to myself.

DAVID WALKERDAVID WALKER answered 2 months ago

I think all senses. Certainly no sound, I’ve never had a song in my head, can’t hear my wife or kids voices, in choir I can’t hear a pitch before I sing it, and I can’t hear a song in my head.

No sense of smell from imagery.

Dorena NagelDorena Nagel answered 2 months ago

I can only hear stuff in my head, also with the real voices of people or songs stuck in my head. But no taste or smell and only very blury images that are maybe more like a concept of the thing than the real thing (if i try really hard to think of my partners or mums face i know they have brown hear, this and this long…) maybe that is also the reason i can’t remember people I met. surprisingly, i have a quite good orientation 😀

Matthew DavisMatthew Davis answered 2 months ago

I have an inner monologue and that’s it. I don’t think it’s even an "audio monologue", it’s just ‘words’… that’s a terribly description but it’s all I can figure out.
This is complete internally, however I do suffer from loops of thought – getting a song stuck in your head and not actually hearing anything is beyond annoying; I think it’s a fairly normal method of release but I have to let it out, singing or humming or listening to the song, stopping what I’m doing and writing out an equation or code snippet that’s come to mind, anything to settle the thought. Addititonally I’m usually humming, mumbling, or listening to something; it’s the only single break from my inner monologue and I take it gleefully.
When trying to recall a memory I generally don’t even get specifics, ask me my favourite song and it’s like a hot spring of songs with a possitive mass of "impressions" attached, then I pick out the ones with the most before trying to recall specific impressions attached to the song – these are recalled as ‘word’, or descriptions, or perhaps a single verse or two I really liked but always in that same monologue. Taste is very similar – chicken is a generally pleasant blandness, steak is rich, juicy, and possibly a hint of smothering from the nice pepper gravy I’ve had the last few times, brocoli is a fresh crispness. Ask me to picture a colour, imagine a sound, taste, or touch? I can’t, I can remember experiencing it, but I can’t bring it to mind.

A DishingerA Dishinger answered 2 months ago

Just visual, I think. I have a way of coping with maps that is rather odd. I go over the entire route and I actually feel the trip from beginning to end. I memorize highway and street names as well as turns, and that way, I can navigate either without the map (if the area is more familar) or with GPS backing me up (if it isn’t).

Music — I can play almost anything by ear but cannot sing it correctly. I played in orchestras and bands for years and it is the physical act of playing and feeling the specific vibrations of the instrument and the hand positions that help me memorize music. I do get "earworms" often, songs stuck in my head, but even with extensive musical training, cannot hum or sing them well.

I’ve not thought about taste or hearing being affected. I will have to think on those!

Roberto RojasRoberto Rojas answered 1 month ago

All senses, but is like someone in my brain is smelling, visualizing, tasting and feeling; because I can somehow anticipate where and how something is gonna fit in a space; how should I put my furniture to look more appealing to me; what I want to eat and listen, this "internal guy" just give me the answers, doesn’t let me see, hear, etc.

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