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Picture of BobHale
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I have what will probably strike you as a weird question. When you close your eyes and try to visualize something do you actually see an image? I’m asking because I’ve read and heard a lot about something called aphantasia recently. This is said to be an inability to form mental images. I have always believed that the phrase “mental image” was some kind of metaphor. I have never for a moment thought that people actually formed an image in the sense of looking at a photograph. Do they? I certainly don’t, which if the things I have seen and heard are true, means that I have aphantasia. I‘m sceptical that anyone sees actual images.


"No man but a blockhead ever wrote except for money." Samuel Johnson.
 
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I do see images, although often as not they are amorphous.
 
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I do too. The images are generally well-formed but their sharpness can fluctuate depending on what I focus in on. It reminds me a bit of the Harry Potter chapter in the last book,
after he’s been book zapped; details appear when, and as soon as, attention is turned on them. And they’re always in color.

“Eidetic memory” in a simple form. I suspect the limits of detail vary from person to person.
 
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Well it seems that I am aphantasic Bob, as opposed to a fantastic Bob. (Which of course I also am.)

It's weird but until recently I had absolutely no idea that people could form an actual mental image rather than just kind of remembering what something looks like. If I close my eyes all I see is a vaguely reddish darkness as the light filters through my eyelids.


"No man but a blockhead ever wrote except for money." Samuel Johnson.
 
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I hadn't really thought about this before, but now I see your point. I tried hard to see an actual image, but it's more vague.
 
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IIRC, Jung thought that dreams could be semi-consciously guided, but could also guide. Maybe Harry Potter shoulda seen a Jungian analyst. Jungians often suggest keeping a note pad by one's bed to jot down remembered dreams before they disappear from consciousness.
 
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quote:
Originally posted by Kalleh:
I hadn't really thought about this before, but now I see your point. I tried hard to see an actual image, but it's more vague.


For me it’s not even vague. There is literally no image at all. Just a reddish darkness from light filtered through my eyelids. I had a conversation with a former student* about this yesterday and he says he sees fully formed images just like looking at a picture.

(*he is one of my great successes. I met him as an annoying kid who used to follow me and the other teacher home from school. Later he became one of my private students and now he is teaching English in a school and has been offered a job teaching at a University. He came down to visit me.)


"No man but a blockhead ever wrote except for money." Samuel Johnson.
 
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Originally posted by Geoff:
IIRC, Jung thought that dreams could be semi-consciously guided, but could also guide. Maybe Harry Potter shoulda seen a Jungian analyst. Jungians often suggest keeping a note pad by one's bed to jot down remembered dreams before they disappear from consciousness.


I definitely have images when I dream but I am talking about just closing your eyes, thinking of an apple and actually seeing (as opposed to “seeing” with quotes) a real image of an apple.


"No man but a blockhead ever wrote except for money." Samuel Johnson.
 
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