Frequently Asked Questions
Answers to frequently asked questions about aphantasia and membership with our unique community.
Give this a shot… think of a horse. Does some kind of visual representation of a horse come to mind? What color is the horse? What is it doing? Most people can create a mental representation of a horse in their mind’s eye. People with aphantasia don’t create mental images. Not for thoughts, memories, or images of the future. Learn more about aphantasia.
VVIQ, the Vividness of Visual Imagery Questionnaire, is the go-to psychometric for initially identifying aphantasia. It’s proven to be an accurate test of the vividness for which you can imagine people, objects, or settings in your mind’s eye. Take the VVIQ.
Aphantasia is often described as a visual condition but can be multisensory. People who experience a lack of mental imagery can have a reduced capacity or total absence of other mental senses (imagining sound, movement, smell, taste, and touch). Learn more about multisensory aphantasia.
Imagination Spectrum Questionnaire (ISQ) was created by Aphantasia Network in collaboration with multiple doctorates spanning psychology, cognition and neuroscience. It has been rigorously tested through multiple pilot studies, and is used to identify sensory imagination; visual, auditory, olfactory, gustatory, tactile, and motor imagery. Discover your Imagery Profile.
People have taken various physiological and behavioral tests in a research lab. Researchers have observed that people who report vivid imagery respond differently to these more objective measures than aphantasics. Although this doesn’t let us know definitively that they vividly see an image, it all points to the fact that something is truly different between people who claim to see vividly and those who don’t. We can also see activation in the visual cortex, the area in the brain that processes images from the eyes, further suggesting actual visualization. For more information about the known neurodifferences in imagery experience, check out these shocking insights.
Aphantasia is both a congenital and developmental condition. The majority of people have aphantasia since birth, sometimes referred to as “lifelong aphantasia.” Rarely can it result from a stroke or head injury. It may also occur as a result of an episode of depression. For more information about probable cause of aphantasia, check out these shocking insights.
Hyperphantasia is characterized by having abundant or extremely vivid mental imagery. It is the opposite of aphantasia, where mental imagery is absent. Hyperphantasia is more common and has been described as being “as vivid as the actual sensory experience.” Discover and learn more about hyperphantasia.
For most, aphantasia is a congenital condition. Meaning, from birth. It is occasionally a symptom of other disorders. Aphantasia can, rarely, result from a stroke, head injury or an episode of depression. So if someone who has previously had imagery loses it suddenly, it’s reasonable to ask and attempt to learn why. Research also suggests that vividness may decline across lifespans, indicating we may become more aphantasic with age. Check out these resources for more information on acquired aphantasia.
Some aphantasics dream visually but are unable to do so while awake. Others dream with the knowledge they’re experiencing something without mental pictures or sound. Most experience fewer and less vivid dreams. Discover more about aphantasia and dreams.
Estimates vary according to core definition and sampling methodology. Current population estimates range anywhere from 1-5% of people have visual aphantasia, and 2-12% have visual hyperphantasia. Multisensory variations of imagery extremes are not yet known. However, one study concluded that as many as 26% of aphantasics will experience aphantasia in all senses.
Aphantasia is a natural variation in human experience and not a disability, mental disorder, or defect. However, discovering one’s aphantasia can be a psychological stressor for some individuals. If you or someone you know is struggling with aphantasia, please seek professional support. For more information watch this interview with Merlin Monzel.
For those with congenital aphantasia, there is no known “cure.” Some cases with acquired aphantasia, however, have described experiences of regaining imagery abilities through various kinds of interventions. Importantly, aphantasia is a unique variation in human experience with its own set of cognitive strengths and challenges, many with aphantasia do not want a “cure.”
Aphantasia is not a barrier to leading a rich, creative and fulfilling life. Ed Catmull, co-founder of Pixar with Steve Jobs and former president of Walt Disney Animation Studios. Craig Venter, biologist who first sequenced the Human Genome. Blake Ross, creator of Mozilla Firefox. Glen Keane, Disney Animator and Creator of The Little Mermaid. Penn Jillette of Penn and Teller. All have aphantasia.
Research into aphantasia spans many disciples from neuroscience to psychology, cognitive science, and more. And interest is growing! The original scientific paper coining the term congential aphantasia scores in the top percentile of new research interest on Altmetric. Check out our aphantasia research database for some of the latest knowledge.
If you’re interested in participating in new research into imagery differences, be sure to check out our assessments page for a current list of research opportunities. Want to get notified of future studies? Opt-in to get email notifications about new research opportunities in your profile settings.
In this section you can find answers to the most frequently asked questions about membership. You can manage almost everything by yourself including changing your credit card info, cancelling your membership, etc. Read more below.
Discord is a text/chat app that is used by millions of online communities just like ours. Discord will be your main communication channel between other premium members and the Aphantasia Network. You can message and reply to others, share projects, resources, new discoveries. We frequently share event updates, new media and more!
Upon signing up as a member, click on this link to connect your Discord account.
Please be advised that Discord is a third-party service provider, it’s a text/chat app that is used by millions of online communities just like ours. It is separate from our main site.
If this is your first time using Discord, press Register to create your account. You’ll need to enter the following:
- A username
- Email address or phone number
Once you’ve entered this account information, you can press “Create an account” and will be re-directed. Select Authorize on the “Aphantasia Bot” to connect and join our server.
Discord is organized into “channels.” From the main menu you will find various channels that are organized into common discussion topics. Jump into the ones that most interest you. You can reply directly to other posts or create a new post. Be sure to pop into the #👋 | introductions channel and introduce yourself!
Yes, using Discord on mobile is a great way to stay connected and updated on all the latest discussions!
Once the app is fully installed, tap on the app icon to launch the app. Login to your Discord account.
Go to your account page. In the menu option, select Discord then select connect with Discord. If you forgot your Discord password, follow the lost password prompts on Discord to re-join our community.
Sure. You can update your membership subscription in your account settings.
Sure. You can update your credit card info under account settings.
Please double check your card number, CVC code and zip/postal code is written correctly. We use fraud protection services to block suspicious cards, so they might flag one of your cards. If it still doesn’t work, try with a different card.
Yes! We’d love to welcome you to our Discord community. Go to your account page to upgrade your subscription. Additional fees apply.
If you are still experiencing issues or have questions about your new membership, reach out to support at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’d be happy to help!