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Blind Mind’s Eye – The Science of Visual Imagery Extremes

Rediscovery of aphantasia

A Blind Mind’s Eye

Although the existence of people with a “blind mind’s eye” was recognized in the 19th century, the phenomenon lacked a name or sustained scientific study until 2015.

The naming of ‘aphantasia’ proved to be pivotal, leading to intense public interest, and a wave of recent research. This suggests that imagery extremes – aphantasia and its converse, hyperphantasia – have contrasting occupational, cognitive, behavioural and neurophysiological characteristics, run in families, and are heterogenous.

Dr. Adam Zeman shares the rediscovery of aphantasia and the research that has ensued, placing these in the context of our understanding of imagery more broadly, and identifies some key unanswered questions.

Recording from the 2021 Extreme Imagination Conference.

What is the Extreme Imagination Conference?

Extreme Imagination conference and exhibition is a gathering of the world’s foremost thinkers, scientists and creatives challenging long-held beliefs about what it means to imagine and create. The first event was brought to life by Dr. Adam Zeman and the Eye’s Mind team at the University of Exeter in 2019 and in 2021, the second conference was hosted virtually by the Aphantasia Network.

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