Reporter discovers affliction of Aphantasia

Peyton Bull, Student Life Editor

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I have made a truly mind-blowing discovery. Not mind-blowing like a Buzzfeed article: “Mind-Blowing Facts That Will Make You Feel Stupid.” Like, truly mind-blowing.

Peyton Bull

You can form mental images in your mind’s eye!

It is thought that about one in 50 people have Aphantasia; someone with Aphantasia is incapable of forming mental images. I have Aphantasia, and I didn’t even know until the other day. I saw an article on Facebook about a man who, after a neurosurgery, lost his ability to form mental images. Now this got me thinking: he could form them in the first place?

I remember being confused at the phrase “counting sheep.” I always thought it meant count as high as you can, and you will eventually you will get bored and fall asleep. No wonder it never worked.

When talking to Natalie Waters, eighth-grader, she said, “You know you don’t actually see an image; you just… imagine it.”

I know you don’t really see anything, but I can’t imagine it. I’m blind in my mind’s eye.

One way you can test if you have it is to close your eyes, and imagine a beach. Imagine the water, the sand, the people there. Just imagine everything. Now on a scale of 1-10 how clear was the beach? How vivid is it? If you said 0 or 1,  chances are you have Aphantasia.

I have never visualized anything in my life, and I thought it was normal. I can’t see my parents’ faces if you ask me to describe them. Of course I will recognize them, and of course I remember key features of them. I know my dad has a beard. I know that my mom has green eyes, but I can’t visualize them. I didn’t know anyone could, and it’s blowing my freaking mind.

The word Aphantasia means “lack of fantasy.” Prefix A meaning “absence o,f” and Phantasia may look familiar from a certain Disney movie. 

Someone asked me (I don’t recall who) if I dream. I do, but there is no visual involved; it’s like a chapter book or narration. I can understand everything that is going on, along with everything else. I just remember the audio, the smell, everything else.

This makes me really jealous of people who read now. You can see everything that happens like a movie? When you dream is it like a movie? Can you just think of something, and it appears in your mind’s eye?! That’s flippin’ crazy. I never knew people could do that.

If you don’t believe me, frankly I don’t care. There is nothing I can do about this, but it would be cool to be able to conjure up images in my mind.