Study finds that aphantasic individuals report decreased imagery in other sensory domains, although not all report a complete lack of multi-sensory imagery. They also report less vivid and phenomenologically rich autobiographical memories and imagined future scenarios, as well as fewer dreams.
Index Tags: Memory
Aphantasia and hyperphantasia appear to be widespread but neglected features of human experience with informative psychological associations.
Online study of aphantasics (n=63) and controls required participants to draw real-world scenes from memory. Study found those without visual imagery show deficits in object but not spatial memory.
Episodic memory (EM) involves re-experiencing past experiences by means of mental imagery. Aphantasics (who lack mental imagery) and people with severely deficient autobiographical memory (SDAM) lack the ability to re-experience, which would imply that they don’t have EM. However, aphantasics and people with SDAM have personal and affective memories, which are other defining aspects of EM (in addition to re-experiencing).
Susie McKinnon can’t picture images and has very few memories from her life. McKinnon has aphantasia and Severely Deficient Autobiographical Memory or SDAM for short. Early findings suggest possible correlations between conditions.
Mental imagery is a fundamental part of human cognition that bridges cognition with sensory representations. This paper introduces a novel technique to measure the sensory capacity of mental imagery using binocular-rivalry (BR)- removing the need for memory or subjective reports.
Visual working memory performance is assessed in aphantasic individual. Study finds while participant performs significantly worse than controls on the most difficult visual working memory trials, surprisingly, their performance on a task designed to involve mental imagery did not differ from controls.
Personal account of a physicist with aphantasia and SDAM. The paper summarizes the long-appreciated role of imagery in mathematics and the physical sciences, and contrast it with the evidence that some scientists have had limited or zero mental imagery.
New methods in behavioural psychophysics (the binocular-rivalry technique) and brain imaging (decoding techniques) have been developed and utilized to uncover many new insights into the mechanisms and brain areas involved in mental imagery.
Performance in visual working memory can be predicted by the strength of mental imagery as assessed with binocular rivalry. Findings could help reconcile current controversy regarding the mechanism and location of visual mnemonic storage.