Q&A With Mac Shine [Member Exclusive]

Watch this extended interview with Mac Shine answering the community’s questions about "What It's Like To Be A Neuroscientist With Aphantasia" in this live Q&A session. Hosted by Tom Ebeyer.

Unlocks on February 22, 2028

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List of Questions

  1. Why do you think neuroscientists go their whole careers sometimes without realizing their phenomenal or personal experiences differ from their colleagues? [0:25s]
  2. If perception is active, how might mental imagery impact perception? What might it mean for someone whose perception is altered by the images they see in their mind? [3:10s]
  3. I just discovered aphantasia and going back to school to study neuroscience. Do you have any recommendations for a career path or studies? [5:35s]
  4. What advantages do you feel aphantasia gives you as a researcher and professor? [8:06s]
  5. Einstein is quoted saying: “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” What do you think about that? [10:11s]
  6. How do we know that feedback control rather than just feed-forward control is necessary for conscious experience? [13:09s]
  7. Recent papers report high-resolution image reconstructions from fMRI activity using Stable Diffusion. Has anyone done this with aphantasics? What would you expect to find? [16:18s]
  8. Any connection between dyslexia and aphantasia? [18:21s]
  9. Have there been any studies about aphantasia and traits like open-mindedness? If not, what are you thoughts on this? [19:33s]
  10. Specifically, as a scientist, do you think your lack of visualization leaves you more open to a wider range of possibilities – without locking in on a specific imagined “solution” that is more available? [21:30s]
  11. Do you think that understanding the mechanism at play in aphantasia can give us insights on how the brain leads to conscious experience? [25:16s]

About the Researcher

Mac Shine is a systems neurobiologist working to understand the mechanisms of cognition and attention using functional brain imaging, both in health and disease. He has a particular interest in understanding how the different arms of the ascending arousal system flexibly modulate the cross-scale organization of the brain to facilitate adaptive behaviour. His paper, The feasibility of artificial consciousness through the lens of neuroscience, highlights the intriguing nature of aphantasia and consciousness.