Curious what aphantasia means? Ask questions, share perspectives. Connect with many minds.

Posted byA T


I discovered that I might have/had aphantasia, a little over a year ago. I was going to sleep a lot later than usual and I felt peculiar and I was thinking of a drawn face and somehow the image appeared in my mind’s eye, then I pictured another object and it worked as well. Here’s the catch it was colorless (blank and white) and unclear. I haven’t been able to do anything like this since and I’m very confused about what this means, do you have any answers?

Posted byShaf

This is a little investigatory as I am new to the term Aphantasia and looking into if it is something I am effected by, I came across Aphantasia in the last year while looking for answers but didn’t think it applied to me as I used to have a very vivid memory, or so I thought.

I’m not sure where understanding fits in with memory, I would remember the components and the steps I took to assemble them into something that resembled understanding each time rather than memorising the end result, this was handy if new information was presented so if the components changed or different steps for assembly were needed, this could be easily visualised and the new paradigm adopted but I could also see the old model along with the changes.

Growing up, my memory was very good, I thought of it as a cinema, visuals, sound, but with smell and taste with an accompanying rolodex where everything was indexed; somewhat eidetic.

I would remember conversations, what people were wearing and on which day, I’d be able to picture what I’d read, where the paragraph that contained the information I needed to recall and what it was in between.

I was good with faces, not as good with names but I’d build associations with someone else with the same name or I would be able to remember the conversation where their name was mentioned.

As a teenager I complained of my memory getting worse, I was losing the ability to visualise my memories and I used to rely heavily on the visuals for my memory.

Something that may have been missed in my childhood, which I am trying to also get to the bottom of at the moment, is that I may have ADHD; I am currently awaiting assessment.

My memory and imagination was heavily visuals based and over the years I’ve observed it erode, it’s now at a place where when I’m asked if I can picture an apple, the answer is both no and yes.
It’s dark, a blackness though I might get a flash of part of something but then it’s not clear. What I’m seeing isn’t an image of an apple I’ve crafted, it’s an image of an apple I’ve encountered before but it’s at the bottom of a puddle and there is a film of petrol on the surface obscuring most of the image. I can identify the part I can see as belonging to an apple because I’ve encountered an apple before and I “know” what one should look like but I can’t tell you the colour or feel; I can pick a colour and a texture from memory but they wouldn’t come from an apple I’ve crafted in my mind’s eye.

I used to have a vivid imagination and mental imagery was a bit of an escape for me and now it’s not possible to conjure an image, even my spelling has deteriorated because I can’t see the word I want to write, thank goodness for spellcheck.

In looking into Aphantasia I see that some people never had the ability to visualise and some loose the ability, for those that lost it was it sudden or a degradation over time?

Anyone else had a similar experience?


Hi everyone,

So, I’ve been strugling a lot these past few months about the idea of Aphantasia. I’ve done a bunch of tests and read articles about this, but I can’t seem to spot a concise criteria of what it is to “create a visual image”.

My my question for all of you is the following: Do people without Aphantasia, close their eyes and see an image instead of blackness? Why do I ask this? I’m unsure whether I have Aphantasia. When I close my eyes and try to imagine something all I see is blackness, but I can somewhat recall the idea of the image. I cannot see that image in my mind, but I can “remember” it, if that makes any sense to you at all.

It feels as if I can create an image but in the backend of my mind, and I’m unable to bring it to the frontend (sorry, I’ve been working on development for some time and this analogy helps me).

Anyway, I hope someone there has found itself in the same situation as I have and can guide me on the correct path.

Thank you,

Posted byPeter Burton

My wife Selina had two major operations in 2002.  After the second one she was a different person and I gradually realised that she had lost the ability to visualise anything.  I can only assume that she suffered a minor stroke during surgery.  The diagnosis from the medics is vascular dementia but she has been stable for the last 20 years apart from when she spent 6 weeks in hospital in 2018 and came out more dependent on me.

Now I know her condition is called Aphantasia, I wonder if the Vascular Dementia diagnosis is incorrect.  Any thoughts from anyone ?


I had a strange experience the other day. I was asleep and dreaming about something – I can’t remember what, my dreams tend to have a visual element but are usually fairly unsaturated and maybe blurry.

Then I half-woke up around 6am and saw a cornfield in front of my eyes – it was quite clear and I could make out the colours and textures. I was still really drowsy and didn’t really register it as anything odd for a second or so, and then I properly woke up and it disappeared suddenly and completely and I was back to just staring at my room (as usual 🙂

Really strange. Has anyone else seen anything like this?

Posted byrit kas

Well, i’ll start at the beginning which is that I figured out today that the ‘mind’s eye’ which everyone talks about is not metaphorical, as I always thought. When people told me to visualise a scene or imagine anything, I never considered the possibility that they could really see a scene when they closed their eyes! I’ve never been able to do this at all, and all I see when I close my eyes is darkness. When I told one of m friends, his first question was, then what do you see when you read? I am an avid reader and I enjoy fiction a lot. I find that though I cannot conjure up an image, I can conceptualise quite easily and imagine what it would be like in the characters shoes. I feel intensely what the character does, and I can do everything but visualise. I find I am constantly narrating my life to myself and make up for the lack of visuals with intense verbal input.  I can hear imaginary music in my head as well. All that I differ in is my lack of the mind’s eye. Am I the only one who?

Posted byAndrew Adler

I’ve always wondered what other aphantasiacs experience when they daydream. I can only describe it as listening to an audiobook where every character is voiced, but all sounds, smells, feelings, textures, and tastes are also present. Is it the same for everyone? I know some people are missing other senses like sounds or touch, but is the general premise the same?

I’ve also wonder, do hyperphantasiacs have problems with thinking their daydreams were real?

Posted byLawrence Tate

I most definitely have complete aphantasia.  So, I would like to be officially screened and diagnosed as no one believes me.  Attempts of treatment in my case would be futile.  I would like to participate in research.

Until today, I didn’t know it had a name.  I have been describing this condition to people (including doctors and psychologists) for years.  I describe it precisely as it is defined, as the “inability to visualize images”.  I also describe it as “the opposite of a photographic memory”.  This inability in me is very complete.

I knew that my terrible short-term memory was connected.  I used intelligence to compensate.  I have to understand things, not memorize them.  Learning in “normal” ways was not possible.  This issue first showed itself when attempting to memorize multiplication tables in school.  That came easy for most but was torturous for me.

In a way, it made me specialize.  When I learn something, it sticks.  People who memorize lose the memories over time.  The stuff I remember from school stays with me, where others can’t remember the stuff memorized in school.

I have only met one other person who described the same condition to me.  Before then, I thought I was a one-off.  She recalled an incident where she was robbed working as a store clerk.  She could not describe the robber (thus causing suspicion).  I was shocked and told her I was the same way.

I often describe it to others like this.  “I can stare at and study your familiar face for a time.  Immediately thereafter, I could be put in front of a police sketch artist and not be able to provide ANY description.

I don’t think most people believe what I am saying to them.  It is SO uncommon and extreme (in my case) that people can’t even understand the problem.  I have terrible people skills and have traits of autism.  I have always been able to compensate, poorly and clumsily, by use of intelligence.

So, I would like to be officially screened and diagnosed as no one believes me.  Attempts of treatment in my case would be futile. Also, perhaps related, is that I have a severe lack of muscle memory.  I can’t type by touch (typing class was an embarrassment).  I can’t play golf.  And, I can’t play guitar.  Of course, I CAN try to do these activities, but nowhere near anything that could be considered normal.

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