The majority of aphantasics retain the capacity to experience rich visual dreams, despite being unable to produce visual imagery while awake. Aphantasia raises important theoretical concerns for the ongoing debate in the philosophy and science of consciousness over the nature of dreams.
Index Type: Journal article
Rhythmic visual flicker is known to induce illusions and altered states of consciousness. Study finds people with visual imagery were more susceptible to flicker-induced illusions (FII) than people with aphantasia.
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.
The strength of a person’s mental imagery is linked to the excitability of different brain regions. Exactly how this network controls the strength of visual imagery remains unknown.
Aphantasia and hyperphantasia appear to be widespread but neglected features of human experience with informative psychological associations.
Neuropsychological data from an architect (PL518) who lost his ability for visual imagery following a bilateral posterior cerebral artery (PCA) stroke.
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).
Insights into the neural mechanisms that underlie visual imagery, how imagery can be objectively and reliably measured, and how it affects general cognition.
Study of aphantasics (n=22) designed to test how image-based thoughts might amplify emotion. Participants read a series of fictitious fearful scenarios while their skin conductance level (SCL) was continuously recorded.