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Offline Christopher_T

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Aphantasia
« on: December 21, 2017, 02:29:10 PM »
Hey babies,

It's ya boy SmallBlueBike, SBB, ChristopherT, bobthebuilder17, and whatever else I've gone by here. Glad to see you're all well, I guess.

Recently I heard of a condition called aphantasia. A simple way of explaining it is to say that you have a "blind mind's eye". This means that people with aphantasia are not capable of forming mental images.

As soon as I heard about this, my mind exploded. Growing up, I always assumed that I was misunderstanding when people would suggest that they can conjure up mental images. I always figured that it was meant figuratively. Well, with the discovery of aphantasia came the realization that I was wrong in that thought process and in reality, I'm just a shell of a man with no ability to recall images.

What's more is that aphantasia (which is a recently named condition with research on it being limited) also appears to impact other senses. It has never crossed my mind that when people say they have a song stuck in their head that they are actually hearing the song. This is something that dawned on me yesterday. I do not hear internal sounds in that way. Likewise, I'm not able to conjure up smells. I can tell you that I like a smell because I might remember enjoying it in the past but if you asked me what a certain candle smells like, I wouldn't be able to actually recall the scent and comment on it.

It's been pretty wild realizing that I've been lacking this ability and seeing the practical uses for it. I've talked to people who say they use mental imagery to assist in math problems, spelling words, remembering the faces of loved, etc. Hell, last night at trivia there was a question asking you to name 3 out of 5 boys on some movie poster. It completes explains why I can't draw. Well, at least why I can't draw from memory. I'll own my artistic inability otherwise.

I only bring this here because 1) I can't stop obsessing about it -- it's fucking wild. 2) There is some suspicion that it could be caused by head injuries. Being that this community has a higher percentage of people who have bashed their faces into the ground multiple times, I'm curious to see if anyone else here may also be aphantasiac.

To be clear, this is totally some millennial "waaah, i'm different" bullshit. I've always lacked the ability to connect my senses to fantasy in that way so nothing has changed since learning about this. But it is really interesting and makes me want to grab some mushrooms and have my own good time.

Here's a really good article that sums up aphantasia, at least as I experience it, really well. https://www.facebook.com/notes/blake-ross/aphantasia-how-it-feels-to-be-blind-in-your-mind/10156834777480504/ The FAQ is pretty handy.

Offline Narcoleptic Insomniac

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Re: Aphantasia
« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2017, 06:50:15 PM »
Sounds made up. I can't begin to wrap my head around not being able to create mental images. How else would you remember things? Wild.

PS. Welcome back.

Offline Prodigal Son

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Re: Aphantasia
« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2017, 07:55:28 PM »
I've had phantnosmia to one degree or another the past 5 years. What this entails is my inability to turn off my recall of a smell. Unfortunately, it isn't a smell I've encoded. It is normally a dusty, yeasty, Coca Cola, and sewage smell. It sometimes lasts days. Other times it is in passing.

This condition is caused from anosmia, which is having no sense of smell. I had all my olfactory nerves severed from the olfactory bulb in a traumatic brain injury.

I have been on my couch recovering from ACL reconstruction and reading a book about biological mechanisms for scent. There was a case of a woman who was not "reading" the correct smell for most everything. Sort of like phantnosmia, but she could initially smell it correctly but then would get stuck in a loop. She was going to have her olfactory nerves surgically removed but this dude working on this research gave her pentobarbital. Much like epilepsy she got out of that smell loop.

Offline Christopher_T

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Re: Aphantasia
« Reply #3 on: December 22, 2017, 12:12:09 PM »
Daniel, I had you in mind when I decided to post here. Just seemed like something you'd be able to relate to.

Quote
Sounds made up. I can't begin to wrap my head around not being able to create mental images. How else would you remember things? Wild.

I don't disagree at all. That said, to me it sounds made up that you can close your eyes and create some crazy visuals. It's like you can turn on a good trip.

I can remember things the same way that you do.  I do have piss-poor memory though and now I feel like these things could easily be related. For what it's worth, there are some things I'm pretty grateful not to be able to see again. My early 20's were pretty gross.

Offline Prodigal Son

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Re: Aphantasia
« Reply #4 on: December 22, 2017, 01:12:33 PM »
As a fan of psychiatric assistance, I hope you find some help for that. Besides psychedelics.

Offline human

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Re: Aphantasia
« Reply #5 on: December 22, 2017, 05:47:02 PM »
I believe it - a friend of mine hit his head and could no longer taste or smell.

Somewhat related - I didnít officially find out I was colorblind until I was almost 18. Until then, I thought I was just stupid and didnít know my colors. It still fucks with me to this day.

Offline Alex.

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Re: Aphantasia
« Reply #6 on: December 22, 2017, 06:38:01 PM »
I believe it - a friend of mine hit his head and could no longer taste or smell.

I smacked my head on the ground and it fucked up my sense of smell and taste. At least it's still there, just a bit different and took a while to learn how things taste now. Wish I could blame my reatrdation on that, though.

OP, I don't really get the concept. I've always assumed picturing something in your head was just you being able to remember what something looked like in the past, rather than closing your eyes and seeing an image on your eyelids. Like if I picture my old house, I can envision the layout out and everything but it's not like an image I'm seeing. Basically, how I would walk through my house and be able to dodge walls and furniture if it were dark inside. You saying I'm brain blind too? Fuck you!

If I try to think of what shit smells like, I don't actually magically smell a shit, but I can remember what one smells like. I don't really get it I guess. I guess that's why some people can visualize things better, like for example what a room would look like painted certain colors or with certain furniture?
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Offline Alex.

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Re: Aphantasia
« Reply #7 on: January 10, 2019, 02:42:24 PM »
I still canít wrap my head around this. How to you remember what anything or anyone be looks like? Like, if you close your eyes and try to picture what your mom looks like... you canít do it?
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Offline JFax

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Re: Aphantasia
« Reply #8 on: January 14, 2019, 04:41:19 AM »
I believe it - a friend of mine hit his head and could no longer taste or smell.

I smacked my head on the ground and it fucked up my sense of smell and taste. At least it's still there, just a bit different and took a while to learn how things taste now. Wish I could blame my reatrdation on that, though.

I met a girl who was born without the ability to smell. I couldnt grasp how living without being able to smell would be, and still cant.
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Offline Prodigal Son

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Re: Aphantasia
« Reply #9 on: January 14, 2019, 02:00:41 PM »
Kinda dangerous. I canít smell smoke, VOCs, when my food is starting to burn, if thereís something up w my car, donít remember what my wife or dog smell like, whether to regret not showering after sex, and I can stand being around foul shit no problem.

Offline JasonJones

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Re: Aphantasia
« Reply #10 on: January 16, 2019, 02:32:44 PM »
Literally just read about this on some random subreddit this morning......crazy shit.
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Re: Aphantasia
« Reply #10 on: January 16, 2019, 02:32:44 PM »

 

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