What's the weirdest (and therefore coolest) thing about you?

Lol, there is! :joy:

You are meant to be here! If you were that strong as a fetus, I can’t imagine the power you hold now. :heart:

Can you picture someone else’s face in your mind if they are not in front of you but you have seen them before?

(Just so we’re not confusing anyone too much…), normally people can visualize in their mind’s eye, to varying degree (see image below). For those that can’t visualize, this is aphantasia (empty head on the right). For those that visualize vividly, this is hyperphantasia (vivid apple in the head on the left). Most people might be surprised how greatly this visualization skill can vary (and change), and that some people even can’t visualize. Some people (with unrecognized aphantasia) may be surprised to learn that anyone actually visualizes at all.

Nope, not even my loved ones. For instance, I’m now thinking of my wife’s face, and I vaguely recall details, yet I still can’t actually visualize her. From my perspective, my internal experience of this exercise is that this is only about my ideas of her face, and not actually about any (potential) visualization.

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Wow, that’s fascinating! The visual helps me understand the varying degrees, too. I would fit into the first category (hyperphantasia). It makes me think of eyewitness testimony and how it’s so unreliable. I wonder what category most people fall into. Thank you for your explanation; I appreciate your time and candor! If you don’t mind me asking one more question, does this also affect your dreams?

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I don’t mind the questions at all :turtle: But, I don’t really have much confidence in my complicated answer, unfortunately. Short answer, no, aphantasia does not affect dreams. Long answer…

For me personally, I used to have or remember dreams more vividly, but I wouldn’t attribute this decade long decline to my aphantasia since I have other sleep issues; that said, I could be wrong, and those other factors actually might interact with aphantasia more than I know. (And that said, I’ve quite recently been noticing a tepid reversal in that previously declining trend, which I feel like attributing to meditation practices, and maybe drugs which are decriminalized in Oregon). So again, my experience of aphantasia affecting my dreams is a tad complicated, and uncertain, if doubtful.

But to better answer your question in general, dreams are involuntary visualization, and to my understanding, and in my experience, dreams are not considered to be affected by aphantasia, since aphantasia applies to voluntary visualization (and dreams are not voluntary, generally; … for more complication, I’ve recently been able to lucid dream, which is kind of a voluntary dream, but my lucid dream didn’t last and I’m not sure if my aphantasia disrupted my dream as it became lucid, or if the disruption was more from other factors).

You may also be interested in this reemphasis; we’re talking about …

… as in, with mindful practice people can improve their voluntary visualization skill (perhaps more so in cases not as extreme as mine). And more meaningfully, some people notice a decline in their ability to visualize as they get older, and it bothers them, and it may have been averted if they were mindful about exercising their visualization. So, like, if I ever have kids, I would attempt to help them gain awareness of their visualization, and maybe play games with them to help them practice and ultimately improve their skill. You may have heard of people with a mind palace; they visualize huge spaces where they store and recall memories. Or consider photographic memory. These types of things are in part skill based, and quite useful. So for example, I could imagine creating a game playing something like hide and seek in a mind palace.

Further tidbits, aphantasia is correlated with things like memory, emotions, autism, etc. Anyway, I guess I’ll stop rambling :slight_smile:

Thanks, that’s super interesting! :blush:

Hey everybody! Something kinda weird and pretty cool about me is I’m a (fraternal) twin, and my middle name is A and her middle name is B because I was born first and she came out second. Before we were officially named, our parents and the doctors referred to us as Baby A and Baby B, so it just kinda stuck and they became our legal, official middle names! Did I mention my parents were hippies?