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Has any research been made in this matter?

Chadmillermusic asked 1 month ago
168 views 8 comments

Has there been any research on Aphantasia and psychedelics. I seriously think that there is something major to look into. I know for a fact someone with Aphantasia can visualise colors and patterens with these substances. If this could be regulated by a doctor, this can open a door thats never been seen behind litterly for people with Aphantasia

SarahPope October 29, 2020 05:16 pm

This is a really interesting concept, but I think the logistics would be really difficult. I think it would be hard to get IRB approval to do this study in an experimental manner, but perhaps a self-report study could be done.

Micktaa November 08, 2020 04:10 pm

I’d be curious if you’ve done any further searching on the internet.

I’m guessing it’d be possible to discover aphantasics in psychedelic-related groups/forums/discussion boards. Make a post on one of them and see if anyone replies. It’s not the same as controlled research with reliable resources, but it’s likely you’d get lot of helpful anecdotes.

I’ve found some aphantasics in a personality type group so I wouldn’t be surprised if you could find some in other groups. I was able to start a small discussion about visual imagination too.

You might have to include a link/explanation that provides a reference for the uninitiated to understand what aphantasia is if you think a lot of members may not know what it was.

I’d be curious to know what you find, especially if you report back on here!

a.schroeck7 November 11, 2020 04:34 pm

I was actually just wondering this yesterday. I recently found out I have aphantasia and yesterday I was listening to a podcast about psychedelic assisted therapy and I was wondering how that would work for someone with aphantasia!

Zach Dobosh November 17, 2020 05:28 pm

A recent study on light flicker-induced illusions (the Ganzflicker Effect) amongst three groups – aphantasics, hypophantasics (low-level mental imagery), and phantasics – indicated that voluntary mental imagery is a prerequisitie for experiencing complex illusions, such as faces, landscapes, animals, buildings, etc. Instead, the aphantasics only experieced simple illusions, such as fractal patterns. Furthermore, aphantasics experienced fewer altered states (which are another common response of the Ganzflicker Effect) than the other groups.

These results are resonant with my own experience with psychdelics and other transcendental mediums. I’ve robustly experimented with with psilocybin mushrooms, salvia, ayahuasca, DMT, and other compounds yet haven’t experienced much more than distorted space-time, colorful patterns, physiological responses, ego-death, confusion, and abstract hallucinations – meaning I haven’t experienced complex illusions, like other beings or imagined scenes playing out in my head. Furthermore, I have felt oddly sober compared to much of the experiences I’ve read or have had described to me.

I think this resistance to altered states may explain why the majority of aphantasics report they are unable to be hypnotized.

Zach Dobosh November 17, 2020 05:28 pm

A recent study on light flicker-induced illusions (the Ganzflicker Effect) amongst three groups – aphantasics, hypophantasics (low-level mental imagery), and phantasics – indicated that voluntary mental imagery is a prerequisitie for experiencing complex illusions, such as faces, landscapes, animals, buildings, etc. Instead, the aphantasics only experieced simple illusions, such as fractal patterns. Furthermore, aphantasics experienced fewer altered states (which are another common response of the Ganzflicker Effect) than the other groups.

These results are resonant with my own experience with psychdelics and other transcendental mediums. I’ve robustly experimented with with psilocybin mushrooms, salvia, ayahuasca, DMT, and other compounds yet haven’t experienced much more than distorted space-time, colorful patterns, physiological responses, ego-death, confusion, and abstract hallucinations – meaning I haven’t experienced complex illusions, like other beings or imagined scenes playing out in my head. Furthermore, I have felt oddly sober compared to much of the experiences I’ve read or have had described to me.

I think this resistance to altered states may explain why the majority of aphantasics report they are unable to be hypnotized.

Janette Nash replied 2 weeks ago

I’m exactly the same, plus “waking sedation” during procedures don’t work – I’m totally conscious, verbal, and feeling pain – and I can drink as much alcohol as I like and it doesn’t affect me at all. Also no hangover…

Zach Dobosh November 19, 2020 12:25 am

Hey Janette, are you saying alcohol has no effects what so ever? Have you tried psychedelics? If so, what has been your experience?

How would you rate your own skepticism, on a scale from 1 to 10? Conversely, how would you rate your ability to develop conviction of a belief or idea?

Olly_J November 29, 2020 11:59 pm

I found out about the term Aphantasia in 2015 from the BBC News article on the subject, and that was quite a mind boggling thing, given I’d not appreciated that people were actually able to internally visislise memories or abstract thought, and always assumed people were talking metaphorically. 
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However like Zach mentions above, I too have robustly experimented with psilocybin mushrooms & DMT, so I can provide some input on my experiences. 
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I have no internal visualisation ability normally, although I do dream with visual imagery, and occasionally as I’m drifting off to sleep, I do see some fleeting images; so I gather my internal imaging circuits do work, just appear not to be engaged in normal wakeful states.
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My psychedelic experiences stretch back over 20 years or more, however I became much more interested in their potential after learning what I did in 2015, and how they could let me experience what others take for granted. 
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To summarize there does seem to be a threshold you have to cross to be able to experience any images with closed eyes (CEV’s) on mushrooms. 
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The usual guide dosages (3-4g) do not have any CEV results for me. I would experience moving patterns with open eyes at this dose, but still internally black. However once this is doubled to 6g plus, then CEV occurs strongly for around 20-30 minutes, and increases in intensity as the dosage increases. For normal non-aphants this would seem like a high doseage, but I suspect for aphants this is the threshold dose. 
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Non aphants seem to report much longer lasting effects, but for me this always seems limited around the half hour mark. So I assume there must be a much higher threshold required to unlock the internal images. 
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As Zach also mentions, the lack of structure in these visualisations..Fractals, patterns etc. Certainly that was my experience at first, as if my brain did not know how to put an image together, and so it was all abstract.. 
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However with time, and many repeated journeys, this has developed into very coherent imagery every time. City scapes, tropical islands, intricate flyovers, people, animals etc..so I feel this is simply my brain having to learn to use the stimuli effectively. I’ve read similar stories for blind people who have had imaging sensors implanted into their brains to give rudimentary sight, at first it is all abstract, but gradually the brain learns to put it together.  
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DMT has had similarly very effective results, but lasts for only a few fleeting minutes before returning to black. 
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Legality issues aside, I am extremely thankful for having been able to experience what I have seen internally with these journeys; to see how the other half live every day without a second thought, for which otherwise I would almost certainly never have been able to.

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