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Jean McSpaddeen


Jean McSpaddeen's Activity


I have aphantasia – lifelong – in all senses  – very little episodic memory.  And yet I dream vividly.  I can’t picture my Mother, or my son as a child – but they appeared in my dream last night as vivid as reality.  Also, I am going deaf ( i am very old) and in what my neurologist believes is a side effect of this I have started to have musical hallucinations.  I hear music playing at low volume which isn’t there,  I could not consciously play the simplest tune in my head but my unconscious is creating symphonies.

If my brain was lacking the ability to create visual imagery how can it create such visual dreams?  If I lack the ability to create auditory sounds how can I hallucinate them?  I obviously have the same abilities of imagery others have – so why is my consciousness cut off from them?


A couple of weeks ago Prof Joel Pearson asked A question on twitter about how one with Aphantasia recomized a familiar face in a crowd, and I responded ‘I just have a confidence that I will recognize the person I am looking for when I see them – and I do.’

And that led me to thinking about an old puzzle I have had in the back of my mind since I took an intro to psychology course in college and first heard about Freud’s theories of the unconscious, which were absurd to me, but even more absurd was the proposition that before the 1800’s people were were not even aware the had an unconscious.

You see I have always known I relied on parts of my mind that was not part of the stream of dialogue I consider my conscious.  The parts that instantly recognize an old friend in a crowd even if they have gained 50 pounds and grown a beard since I have last seen them.  The part that finds the book that I am looking for in the hodgepodge of thousands of old books I own, even when I haven’t thought about the book in years.  The part that knows the correct answer to those spatial IQ test, the one that take notice of the maps I study for a cross country trip and will navigate me to the correct location while I am busy writing short stories in my head and not giving  any thought to where I need to turn next, for I knew my unconscious knew and would direct me there. etc.

And now I am wondering  if  I, as an aphantasic, more dependent on my unconscious than most or am I just more aware of my dependency on my unconscious then most?

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