Researchers used fMRI to examine brain activation while participants looked at, or later imagined, famous faces and famous buildings. Group comparison revealed low-vividness group activated a more widespread set of brain regions while visualizing than the high-vividness group.
Index Tags: Vividness
Neurologist Adam Zeman of the University of Exeter publishes study involving a patient, known as MX, who reported losing his ability to visualize in the mind. Zeman refers to the inability to generate mental imagery as aphantasia.
Patient MX reports losing the ability to generate visual images. MX experienced almost no imagery on standard questionnaires, yet performed normally on standard tests of perception, visual imagery and visual memory. These unexpected findings were explored using fMRI scanning.
Galton asks 100 male participants to picture their breakfast table and then describe to him the vividness of their impressions. Galton discovers that this ability varied remarkably; some individuals could draw up mental images just as brilliant as the scene itself while 12 of his subjects could only conjure up a dim image, or no image at all.