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Your Minds Eye

LeastComplicatedLeastComplicated 1011 replies36 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,047 Senior Member
I was browsing reddit last night and I learned about a strange condition. It’s called aphantasia. A person with this condition lacks the ability to form or see images in his mind or imagination. All they see is blackness.

I tested myself, and I feel I’m lacking the ability to see much in my minds eye. What I see when I think of something is a very vague and brief image. Just a flash. And strangely, it’s always to the left. I’m actually unsure if I’m really seeing it in my mind or just thinking about it non visually. I certainly don’t see clear or detailed images.

What do you see in your mind?

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Replies to: Your Minds Eye

  • oregon101oregon101 5406 replies134 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 5,540 Senior Member
    hmmmm
    I don't know anything about this but it is interesting.
    So--for example, can you imagine yourself walking on a beach?
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  • LeastComplicatedLeastComplicated 1011 replies36 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,047 Senior Member
    I can imagine it but I don’t see it. It’s like I’m thinking about it, but not seeing it. Do you see things in detail? Can you see something in your mind for several seconds?
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  • MoonKnightMoonKnight 377 replies9 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 386 Member
    Yes, I can see things in detail. Sometimes I spend minutes just daydreaming because all my focus is on what I am seeing in my mind. I have caught myself just staring at something for so long because I am busy looking into my mind rather than the real world.
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  • MaineLonghornMaineLonghorn 37509 replies2048 discussionsSuper Moderator Posts: 39,557 Super Moderator
    When I visit a place I really like, such as my in-laws’ place in the Bahamas, I concentrate really hard to remember a particular view. Then I can recall it later, whenever I need to think of something pleasant. It’s a vivid image, even though the last time I visited was 25 years ago.
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  • boudersbouders 2420 replies167 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 2,587 Senior Member
    I am pretty good at seeing things in my mind’s eye. There are some pictures that I can remember decades later without having to have consciously tried to remember at the time. I can conjure up a 3D image of all the rooms of all the houses I’ve lived in. I can conjure up images of emotionally filled moments of my life such as my wedding or the hospital room where my husband died.

    I can also take snapshots of images that I want to remember. This past weekend I took a snapshot of D16 when she learned the plot twist of The Sixth Sense as she was watching it for the first time.

    I have mild prosopagnosia though. It’s the inability to recognize faces. If I’m introduced to someone in a large group I won’t remember them the next time I see them. It’s a major handicap as a teacher.
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  • oregon101oregon101 5406 replies134 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 5,540 Senior Member
    Yes, I remember things and see and even can feel things such as wind or hear the sound of the creek or waves. I can experience being there. My daydreams are intense and when I do a task such as making a new dish I imagine every step as if I am doing it. When I am bored I think of a difficult property and built a floorpan to suit the terrain. It is loads of fun.
    When I see someone and cannot remember their name if a "trigger" is mentioned such as where they lived as a child or pretty much any detail I file through my brain and then remember every detail about them but not their name necessarily.
    Interestingi post.
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  • mathmommathmom 32012 replies158 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 32,170 Senior Member
    I often remember exactly where something was on a page, but I wouldn't say I have vivid memories of my past that I can call up. I could never write a memoir! I remember reading Temple Grandin's book Thinking in Pictures where she talks about how she can run through a memory just like rerunning a videotape. I asked my older son (not autistic, but quirky enough he shares many characteristics) and he said surprised, "Doesn't everyone?" He went on to tell me that when they had spelling tests he would just rewind to the point where he saw the teacher writing the words on the board and then he would copy them down again!
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  • milgymfammilgymfam 653 replies12 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 665 Member
    I don’t ever picture anything in pictures, always in words. I don’t even dream. I always thought when people talked about picturing things or visualizing that they were not being literal. 🤷‍♀️
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  • garlandgarland 15894 replies198 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 16,092 Senior Member
    I can put myself into a place I've been and figuratively look around. All my memories are visual based. I only realized recently that that's not true of anyone. I feel bad now because of that assumption.
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  • MarianMarian 13172 replies83 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 13,255 Senior Member
    edited June 26
    I mostly think in words and sensations. Visual images are much harder for me. I can picture something if I've seen it before, but not if I've only heard or read a description. I failed miserably once when I tried to use a guided imagery tape.

    I love it when people make films based on books that I've read. It's the only way I can ever learn what the characters and setting look like. I had no idea what anything in the world of Song of Ice and Fire looked like until the Game of Thrones TV show came out.
    edited June 26
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  • ChoatieMomChoatieMom 5160 replies236 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 5,396 Senior Member
    This is what I’m especially good at, but I don’t need to close my eyes. Paint colors? No problem. I just stare at the room and repaint it like it was done. We are considering new sinks in our master bath redo. I had chosen a sink but when I stood in our bathroom and “installed” the sink, I could see why it wouldn’t work. My mind’s eye is about the same as my normal vision.
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  • doschicosdoschicos 20434 replies209 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 20,643 Senior Member
    edited June 26
    "Doesn't everyone?"
    Wow! Well, I find myself asking, "People can really do this?"
    I guess my mind's eye is broken and I have the aphantasia condition. I can dream and see images in my sleep but not when fully conscious. I, too, thought this was something rare, not common, or people not being literal.
    edited June 26
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  • ChoatieMomChoatieMom 5160 replies236 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 5,396 Senior Member
    @oregon101 wrote:
    When I see someone and cannot remember their name if a "trigger" is mentioned such as where they lived as a child or pretty much any detail I file through my brain and then remember every detail about them but not their name necessarily.

    There is an interesting book on this phenomena called Moonwalking with Einstein by Joshua Foer. I almost cried when I read his description of a “memory palace” as that has alway been the way my mind has worked, but I didn’t know there was a name for it or that is was a “thing,” and I’d get so frustrated when I was younger and couldn’t understand how adults could forget things. Well, now I understand. My palace is crumbling. :(
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 32674 replies349 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 33,023 Senior Member
    I visualize so much that I wondered if it was a problem. Eg, memories replay like scenes in a film (not really a film, but that sort of playback, in snippets.) I think parts of this can be learned or practiced. Just today, I was recalling the details of a house we didn't buy. NOT nuts, it was more a convenient memory, thoughts of a layout I liked.

    But, @MaineLonghorn This ability to "snapshot" serves well. Many times, we've only been able to have very short vacations. I joke that ten minutes in a spot is enough to imprint with all the senses. The smell of the air, the angle of the sun, the sounds. It doesn't mean we remember every stop, just those that rang with us.

    I can do it with purely imaginative things, too.

    @LeastComplicated Don't you visualize when, say, looking forward to re-visiting a place or remembering how to get somewhere?
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