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Is there an objective test for aphantasia?

Stephen Knilans asked 11 months ago

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I realize that it is hard to do, but without an OBJECTIVE test, I guess I am sunk…..

  1. I DO dream at times. I used to dream ALL the time. Sometimes it has been SO realistic, that I wake up with the goals and concerns I had in the dream, in another job or circumstance, and it takes a while to say THAT is not me.
  2. If I read a good book, I WILL sometimes get lost in it and it is like it is real. Almost like a movie, but better.
  3. I KIND of have a feeling I can sort of visualize, if that makes sense. It can have color, dimensions, and a position relative to the planet. So if I need a particular item, I can find the shortest path to the store that has it, and go there, almost without looking. I may also remember the general look of a page, so I can find it in a book I have read,
  4. I am generally good on spacial tasks.
  5. HOWEVER, nothing is actually like I am PHYSICALLY seeing it.

And what IS “the minds eye”? The ONLY time I have heard this, until recently, was if someone was referring to the pineal gland, which is supposedly vestigial in many people, like most caucasions, or a concept, that isn’t explaned, but is often tied to paranormal things, that generally isn’t developed.

For whatever reason, I earlier thought some could more easily view things mentally, and I TRIED to build that up and never really did. Although some people have amazed me with some things, generally, they really don’t. So I am curious if there is some test that says DO THIS, and if you don’t get THIS result, you have aphantasia.

Jennifer McDougall Staff January 04, 2020 08:26 pm

Great question Stephen. According to leading scientsts studying aphantasia we have some objective measures to measure it now, though the science is still evolving. One such measure is through Binocular Rivalry Experiments (BR). We wrote an article about BR here. Findings from a new study annouced late 2019 revealed that pupil contraction may also be another objective measure. We are still waiting to get our hands on a copy of this research paper once published. We post any new scientific discoveries we stumble on in our evolving database The Aphantasia Index. fMRI studies are also another objective measure, though particpation in such studies is very costly and not widely availabe to the public. As we build the network, we hope to make some major contributions to advance the science on more objective testing.

Hans Baeker August 29, 2020 09:08 pm

I read some time ago, possibly on this site, that one possibility is to measure someone’s brain waves and ask them whether the green of trees is darker or lighter than the green of trees. Someone who can form images in their mind will apparently form an image of grass next to trees and compare them that way.

Being color blind, that’s a tough question for me. When I read that, I said to myself that obviously it was the green of the grass that was brighter, but then I realized that I was thinking about the bark of trees which I already know is often pretty dark (with some exceptions).

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