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Your Minds Eye

LeastComplicatedLeastComplicated 1100 replies40 threads 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 5648 replies138 threads 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 1100 replies40 threads 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 threads 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 42355 replies2287 threads 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 2734 replies190 threads 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 5648 replies138 threads 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 33245 replies163 threads 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 1599 replies28 threads Senior 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 16546 replies206 threads 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 13230 replies83 threads Senior Member
    edited June 2019
    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 2019
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  • ChoatieMomChoatieMom 5812 replies271 threads 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 26843 replies270 threads Senior Member
    edited June 2019
    "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 2019
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  • ChoatieMomChoatieMom 5812 replies271 threads 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 35421 replies399 threads 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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  • LeastComplicatedLeastComplicated 1100 replies40 threads Senior Member
    Just very brief flashes, a fraction of a second re the places I’ve visited. I think when look forward to revisiting a place it’s based on emotions, not memories I can visualize. I don’t visualize how to get places. I think that’s memorized in some other way.
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  • MoonKnightMoonKnight 377 replies9 threads Member
    @LeastComplicated I agree about what you said on visualizing how to get to places. You need to have memorized the route and all the streets you turn at to get there before you can visualize it in your mind.
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  • HImomHImom 36063 replies396 threads Senior Member
    I really wish I had this ability. H and D have it but S and I sadly lack it. Oh well , we soldier on. Words are how I remember things. I can’t remember many details because I have NO visual pictures. When I close my eyes, it’s black. I can remember feelings and words but not images.
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  • oregon101oregon101 5648 replies138 threads Senior Member
    ChoatieMom,Wow, that was interesting. Sadly actual memorizing details is not my strength. I am terrible at languages. I think that my gift is the ability to put myself into a different realm of consciousness. I do wish I could straight out memories!
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  • MoonKnightMoonKnight 377 replies9 threads Member
    @HImom Well everyone has different ways of memorizing things. I like to use both visuals and words but I don't recall a time when I used feelings to remember something important unless I'm remembering the times I got hurt and how it felt.
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