Dr Zoe Pounder, Researcher in Visual Imagery, wrote an article for The Conversation explaining aphantasia, which is the inability to voluntarily create a mental picture in your head.

Dreams illustration of women with thoughts flowing out of her head

In the article, Dr Pounder spoke about studying the human experience identified as aphantasia compared to those with typical imagery, and said: “Our results suggested people with aphantasia have intact spatial imagery abilities – the ability to represent the size, location and position of objects in relation to each other. This finding has been reinforced in another of our studies examining how people with aphantasia perform in a number of imagery-related memory tasks.”

Talking about living with aphantasia, she added: “For many, visual imagery is intrinsic to how they think, remember past events and plan for the future – a process they engage in and experience without actively trying to. We don’t know yet why such imagery variation exists, or the underlying basis. 

“But, as aphantasia has shown, many of our mental experiences are not experienced universally. There are in fact a number of unknowing yet intriguing variations among us.”

Read the full article on The Conversation’s website.

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