Author Topic: Visualization  (Read 1512 times)

Wolf berry

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« on: February 11, 2019, 05:25:48 PM »
How is aphantasia diagnosed?

Aphantasia was actually identified around the 18th century, but it was never actually given a name until Professor Zeman of the University of Exeter Medical School in the UK became intrigued by a heart surgery patient who claimed to have lost the ability to visualize after the surgical intervention, and decided to name this condition ?aphantasia?, or a negation of the ability to fantasize.

Surveys were then conducted within the UK, and Professor Zeman was surprised to receive communications from some 10,000 people who suspected that they too were experiencing this condition - according to the content of the survey they took part in.

Having completed this online survey, subjects are given the opportunity to contribute to a more in-depth survey which asks them to explain in more depth how the condition affects their ability to function in the world.

It has been established that worldwide, this condition affects 2 - 3% of the human population, but probably the figure is higher, as so many people affected would be unaware of these studies and the fact that the condition had actually been identified - that is if they actually know that their mental process is any different than anyone else's. This often comes as a shock to those who discover that what they previously considered quite normal is in fact not the way in which the human brain is normally wired to function.

A common observation among aphantasic subjects is that they never realized that their friend?s claims to have imagined something were any more than a figure of speech. They simply took it for granted that such descriptions were figurative - never for one moment imagining that such an account of one?s imaginary experience might actually be factual description for a normal person - that when they were talking about seeing things like a movie, that this was actually what the person was perceiving. Of course the same goes for all the other senses involved in the use of the imagination.

3. What evidence is there to prove that this is actually a neurological disorder?

The neurological difference shows up quite clearly in MRI and other types of scans of the brain. It can be seen that in the case of an aphantasic subject, the corresponding areas of the brain are actually totally dormant or inactive.

4. Why is research being carried out on such a small scale?

On the one hand, it is true to say that this is definitely a question of lack of funding for such research, but in addition to this, from conversations with Professor Zeman I would add that the condition has actually now become of secondary importance to him and his team.

The reason for this is the identification of another condition which might be considered the polar opposite of aphantasia - Hyperphantasia. The truth is that the overwhelming focus of present research is being directed presently in the direction of Hyperphantasia. This is a condition in which the ability to visualize and imagine is amplified to levels far beyond the normal. In discussions with Professor Zelman and others on various forums I conclude that there may exist a link between the two conditions, and ultimately studying and researching Hyperphantasia may reveal insights into the underlying causes of aphantasia. However I do feel that in general there is less interest in the aphantasic condition than there should be, particularly if there is ever to be some sort of effective treatment for this condition.

In fact I have offered my help to Professor Zeman and his team and was asked to fill out more in depth surveys and provide further information regarding my own experience of the condition. Sadly there has been no followup whatsoever, aside from a rather nice informal reply.

Underfunding whilst certainly a major consideration seems to me to be being used as an excuse by Professor Zelman and others. I suspect that the truth is lack of motivation on the one hand, and in terms of research being conducted worldwide, probably ignorance of the existence of the disorder among the medical professional staff.

In my opinion insufficient effort is being put into making the existence of this condition widely known throughout the world. All we have is a paltry few ill constructed online forums with a very sporadic activity, and the very limited research being currently undertaken by the likes of Professor Zelman and his team in the UK.



Unless you are actually afflicted there is no way that one can imagine to what extent this condition affects one?s capacity to operate effectively in today?s world on many levels.

While there is little doubt in my mind that there are ways in which the sufferer will benefit from an augmentation in other abilities and faculties, particularly the mental faculties - in a similar way to the way other senses will become more acute in order to offset the loss of a sense perception such as sight - these do little to compensate for the difficulties the aphantasic subject experiences with memorizing numeric sequences, performing any type of mental arithmetic, recalling dates, chronological order of events, finding one?s way around/getting lost easily, losing objects, and a long list of other ways in which this condition renders our everyday life experience more difficult and complicated.

Perhaps surprisingly, this condition is often found in subjects of extraordinary intellectual capacity, artists, designers and highly creative people.

Do you have aphantasia?? Can?t visualize at all or create image when you close your eyes not imagination but Visualization !! Since during pois years from age 12 to 20 i can?t do Visulization at all.. Now I can do it and it feel good!!


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Re: Visualization
« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2019, 05:38:21 PM »
I can visualize but Ironically POIS makes it a bit harder to visualize because of lack in concentration.