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Can You Visualise This? (Aphantasia Explained)

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A lot of us can stop and visualise things in a flash – a rainbow, your breakfast table, your Mum’s 80s haircut. But “visualising” isn’t the norm for everyone – some people don’t imagine things in a visual way. While our “mind’s eye” allows a lot of us to see things in our head, other people imagine with words or concepts – in non-visual ways. Aphantasia is a recently named condition where people don’t experience visuals in their mind – sometimes the images are to a lesser degree, sometimes they’re completely absent. I speak with Andy Lord, a BrainCraft viewer who commented about his Aphantasia on my last episode. We all experience the world a little differently.

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BrainCraft was created by Vanessa Hill (@nessyhill) and is brought to you by PBS Digital Studios. Talking psychology, neuroscience & why we act the way we do.

REFERENCES 📚

Zeman, A. Z., Della Sala, S., Torrens, L. A., Gountouna, V. E., McGonigle, D. J., & Logie, R. H. (2010). Loss of imagery phenomenology with intact visuo-spatial task performance: A case of ‘blind imagination’. Neuropsychologia, 48(1), 145-155. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0028393209003418?via%3Dihub

Carl Zimmer for Discover, 2010. The Brain: Look Deep into the Mind’s Eye http://discovermagazine.com/2010/mar/23-the-brain-look-deep-into-minds-eye

Zeman, A. Z., Dewar, M., & Della Sala, S. (2015). Lives without imagery – Congenital aphantasia. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0010945215001781?via%3Dihub#!

Carl Zimmer for the New York Times, 2015. Picture This? Some Just Can’t https://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/23/science/aphantasia-minds-eye-blind.html

Sci Show, 2015. New Insights into ‘The Mind’s Eye’ https://youtu.be/lpK6ZJea9fk

Zeman, A., Dewar, M., & Della Sala, S. (2016). Reflections on aphantasia. Cortex; a journal devoted to the study of the nervous system and behavior, 74, 336-337. http://www.research.ed.ac.uk/portal/files/21508884/Reflections_on_Aphantasia.docx

Faw, B. (2009). Conflicting intuitions may be based on differing abilities: Evidence from mental imaging research. Journal of Consciousness Studies, 16(4), 45-68. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Bill_Faw/publication/233489555_Conflicting_Intuitions_May_Be_Based_On_Differing_Abilities_Evidence_from_Mental_Imaging_Research/links/558c1da208ae591c19d9ecb6.pdf

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