A few weeks ago, MC came and started talking about this test. It kind of reminded me of the “what color is the dress” thing from a while back. The question was to picture a red star in our mind. Then he showed us a grid of options and we had to pick out the one we’d pictured. MC, Hubby and I were all doing this and BG was upstairs. The three of us all answered the same and with what seemed crazy obvious to us, a red 5 point typical star shape. Then MC went and asked his sister what she saw. I was absolutely stunned that she picked a blank, black square. I didn’t get it or understand it at all.
I am still trying to wrap my brain around the whole thing. Trying to understand how the hell BG can be the great student and artist that she is and not have this seemly basic function in her head. The conversations we’ve had about it have been mind blowing and interesting. Then the topic pops up in my twitter feed this week.
Turns out that there is a percentage of people (I honestly don’t know numbers) that do not have the ability to actually visualize things, images, in their minds. There is even a name for it. Aphantasia.
In the conversation thread on twitter, one of the commenters mentioned that those with Aphantasia also don’t seem to typically have internal monologues. Again. WHAT?!
There have been so many times over the years when I’m attempting to explain a creative project, like say BG’s birthday cake, and BG is “Yeah, I can’t understand what you mean, but… okay.” I’ve always thought she is just being BG and wanting me to just do my thing. It came up the other day when we were talking about the new back door and how it will work differently than our existing one and what seems super obvious and easily visualized for me just isn’t for her. She will not be able to fully understand it until she sees it.
One of the things that came up in the twitter thread was a comment about a person not enjoying reading fiction because they struggled with the ability to form images the author was creating. Again, a mind bending thing to even consider for me.
All of my learning and memories and creative ideas are built around that visualization function and it is nearly impossible for my brain to wrap around being able to function without it. Even more so when there are times that BG’s memory is so sharp, you’d think it is eidetic or something close, which goes counter to Aphantasia.
Have you heard of this before? Are you one of those that cannot visualize? This is obviously not the norm for most people, so I’m really curious as to other people’s experience or understanding of this.