What is Aphantasia
While most of us do have an inner monologue, not everybody hears their own voice or has an inner narrator. Experts aren’t sure why this is, but there is a theory that it could be down to how the dorsal stream develops. This is basically the language tract within the brain.
Aphantasia is the inability to voluntarily create mental images in one's mind. The phenomenon was first described by Francis Galton in 1880. It occurs when you are blind in your mind.
The reason I am sharing this information in this lesson is because I was mentoring a young woman who was unorganized and have difficulty planning. I learned after guiding her to plan her day in her mind and experience being organized and productive that she couldn't do it. I further asked her to visualize herself accomplishing her goals. Completing her tasks and celebrating the small wins. It was during our conversations about including affirmations in her daily dialogue with herself that I learned that she doesn't have self-talk.
Aphantasia is a phenomenon in which people are unable to visualize imagery. While most people are able to conjure an image of a scene or face in their minds, people with aphantasia cannot.
Imagine that it is a warm summer day and you are sitting on the side of a swimming pool. The sun is shining down and there are children laughing and splashing in the water. What sort of images do you see in your mind as you think about this scene?
If you have aphantasia, you may be unable to visualize any type of image in your head. Aphantasia is believed to be rare, affecting an estimated 1% to 3% of the population.
These individuals have no "mind's eye," or their imagination is essentially blind. This ability to visualize events and images plays an important part in people's lives.
People often visualize scenes, people, experiences, imaginings, objects, and planned events, among other things. When you think about a friend, for example, you might immediately visualize their face inside your mind. People with aphantasia are unable to visualize such a mental image.
If you were to ask a person with aphantasia to imagine something, they could likely describe the object, explain the concept, and rattle off facts that they know about the object. But they would not be able to experience any sort of mental image to accompany this knowledge.
Living With Aphantasia
Not being able to visualize people and places can be distressing for people with aphantasia. For example, not being able to picture the face of a loved one who has passed away can be upsetting.
The available studies suggest that having aphantasia does not necessarily hurt a person's success in life. People from all walks of life experience this phenomenon, including successful doctorate students, engineers, and other professionals.
It is important to note that this phenomenon is a normal variation of human experience, not a condition that requires treatment.
This doesn’t mean that it might not have an effect on different aspects of your life, however. Mental imagery also plays a role in learning, so not being able to visualize scenes in your mind may make certain aspects of learning more difficult.
A number of questions remain about this phenomenon, including just how prevalent it may be and whether it might have a genetic component.
By on Very Well Mind
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