Curious what aphantasia means? Ask questions, share perspectives. Connect with like minds.
Many universities require that applicants for admission have taken a foreign language in high school. If they have not, then the universities commonly require that they take some foreign language courses as part of a general requirement for all bachelor degree programs. I suspect that such a universal requirement prevents many talented people from achieving their educational goals.
To me, the current foreign language requirement discriminate against aphantasics who do not create auditory images and people who do not foresee a need for a foreign language in their career goals.
To me, foreign language requirements should be restricted to students who wish to work in a field where capability in a foreign language is needed. For all other students, foreign language courses should be optional. Students, in general, can get a broad education by taking a wide variety of other courses during their first and second years.
When I wrote about this issue to the head of academic programs in the office of the President of the University of California system I received the following rationalized justification is response:
“Faculty at the University establish minimum admission criteria to ensure every student offered admission has the foundational skills necessary to succeed and persist to the Bachelor’s degree. While campuses review applicants for minimum systemwide requirements, no applicant is denied without receiving a full application review. Students who are missing a requirement but are otherwise qualified and competitive for a campus may gain admission under the University’s Admission by Exception policy. This policy provides a means to identify students who do not meet technical requirements for eligibility but who demonstrate strong likelihood of success
at UC or exceptional potential to contribute to the University or the State of California. Exceptions can be made for numerous reasons, including for physical or learning disabilities or conditions such as aphantasia, that affect students’ ability to meet UC eligibility requirements.”
I would like to see aphantasics take a leadership in fighting against this type of discrimination. Some actions that could occur include:
1. Challenging the requirements as being an illegal form of discrimination
2. Conducting research on how such requirements adversely affect aphantasics and others whose careers will not depend upon knowledge of a foreign language.
3. The adverse financial and time consumption aspects of having to take such courses.
4. The learning improvements of having only interested students attending such courses courses.
5. Studies of how many young people avoid going to college because they are discouraged by such foreign language requirements.
6. Develop ways for universities to publicize to high school counselors the alternatives that might be available.
My deceased wife, who was fluent in seven languages, was almost amazed that someone who does not create auditory images was required to study a foreign language. She quickly realized that it would be almost impossible for me to ever become fluent in a foreign language.
She raised the question as to whether universities keep pushing the requirement as a form of guaranteed employment for foreign language teachers. She had also found that the learning by the interested students was hindered by uninterested students being in the same classes.
I just found out I’m Aphantasia and although it finally makes sense, it is scary. I have never been able to visualize stuff in my mind and this has also affected some of my friendships because when I meet a person for the first time, my mind doesn’t see them again until I see them physically and before then, I have forgotten their name and we have to start over.
Before I got a name to this, I’ve always felt I was stupid, I had poor memory and I blamed myself for a lot, but now it makes better sense. I don’t know how to completely feel but I hope I can get over feeling like less of myself. I am a writer with two self published books and I’ve always hated writing and reading descriptions. I struggle with writing descriptions and it has always made me feel I wasn’t a good enough writer. I understand better now. How did anyone deal with accepting that they have Aphantasia but it doesn’t make them less of who they are?
Based on my own experiences, I am concerned that aphantasics are inherently discriminated against by many educational systems. Many educational institutions require that all students take many courses that emphasize memorization and/or designed for people who can create visual and/or auditory images. For example, many colleges require that a student take at least a year of a foreign language. That may be a reasonable requirement for most students, but it is not reasonable for a aphantasic who does not create auditory images. As another example, when we were young, my wife took a college level course on mineralogy in which the students were expected to visually recognize about 1000 different minerals. That course would have been a disaster for me. I would like to see some research done to convince educational institutions to test each student’s learning styles and, then, provide a custom curricula of courses for aphantasic students.
Though I score extremely low on the empathy dimension of personality/psycopathy tests, I actually can and do empathize. Rather than being an emotional response, it’s more of a calculated answer. My ability to empathize seems to flow through a logical narrative and may borrow “problem-solving” from my mental tool kit to supplement the emotional lack. I’m curious if my inability to visualize what others experience has any effect on my ability (or lack thereof) “feel” what their situation communicates. Can anyone relate?
Anyone have any suggestions on how to memorize? I have been finding it more difficult to memorize texts.
The inability to visualize something, such as the periodic table, means I need to look to better ways. I am a big list maker. But I can’t visualize a list if I can’t find it.
It’s an approach to develop visual imagery in people who either don’t have it or who have it underdeveloped.
I am considering it, but it’s very expensive – $140/hour, with a required 150+ hours of instruction.
Anybody had experience with that method?
Hi! I recently found this article and wondered if any of you guys know anything about it. I am willing to try anything at this point in my life since I cannot tell what learning strategies I should try anymore… Please excuse me if this is not the right place to post this discussion; I am a new member.
I had heard of aphantasia before, but now I have a 6th form pupil who thinks he has it and I would like to support him better. He is at one of the top schools in the country, studying Maths, Economics, Theology and Politics. We have discussed certain areas that may be challenging and I hope to help him with this, but as he approaches Upper Sixth (Yr 13) I would like to know if there is any training out there or books/articles you can recommend, please.