Hyperphantasia Versus Aphantasia - Which Is Better?


Hyperphantasia Versus Aphantasia

Which Is Better?

Larry Neal Gowdy - Copyright ©2024 - January 04, 2024

(The following is a condensed and lightly edited version of the original article at Hyperphantasia Versus Aphantasia - Which Is Better?.)


Hyperphantasia is said to imply vivid mental imagery when the eyes are closed, allegedly as real of appearance as seeing a thing with open eyes. Aphantasia is said to imply that an individual has no mental visual imagery at all, except, perhaps, in dreams.

An inescapable fact is that nothing in Nature is identical, the same, nor equal. Everyone who sees closed-eyes visual imagery ('hyperphantasia', 'phantasia', and 'hypophantasia') will see a different quantity and quality of imagery than what other people 'see', and everyone will also apply a different quantity and quality of how they reason and describe what they 'see'.

Similarly, everyone who does not see closed-eyes visual imagery (aphantasia) will experience a different quantity and quality of non-visual imagery than what other people do not 'see', and everyone will also apply a different quantity and quality of how they reason and describe what they do not 'see'.

Some 'hyperphantasia' individuals can describe their 'closed eyes' visual imagery of an object better than what some 'aphantasia' individuals are able to describe an object while 'eyes open' looking at the object. Inversely, some 'aphantasia' individuals can describe their 'closed eyes' non-visual imagery of an object better than what some 'hyperphantasia' individuals are able to describe an object while 'eyes-open' looking at the object.

The terms 'hyperphantasia' and 'aphantasia' only suggest that some people's 'closed-eyes' manners of thinking may or may not include 'seeing' self-created images that resemble the appearance of what the open eyes see.

By themselves, 'hyperphantasia' and 'aphantasia' cannot and do not infer a better or worse form of mental cognition.

For the purpose of this article, the term 'mental-construct' will imply the mental act of recalling and reforming the memories of what was previously seen and sensed.

Mental-Construct of Hyperphantasia Versus Aphantasia

From the 2014 article Consciousness - Types and Examples: "The French researcher Alfred Binet (1857 - 1911) wrote "On Double Consciousness" (published 1890) in which he described numerous experiments that illustrated the presence of what we today usually refer to as the subconscious mind. Of immediate interest is Binet's... experiments showed that the 'subconscious' mind could read an eye chart far better than what the conscious mind could see. ...As Binet illustrated, the subconscious mind can be far more intellectually and sensorially acute than the conscious mind."

One importance of Binet's work is that it illustrated potential differences between individuals who are more conscious or less conscious than other people. Just because someone may see 'closed-eyes' imagery, there is no reason to assume that the imagery itself is as detailed as what some other individuals may see and sense.

From Alzheimer's Symptoms, Stages, Memory Loss and Cures: "A well-known [paraphrased] Zen story is about Zenno, who had invested ten years into the practice of Zen and believed that he had attained a master's level. When Zenno entered master Nan-in's house during a rainy day, Nan-in asked Zenno if Zenno had left his shoes and umbrella outside. Zenno replied yes, because it was the polite thing to do to not take one's wet shoes and umbrella into another person's home. Nan-in then asked Zenno which side of the shoes did Zenno leave the umbrella. Zenno did not remember which side of the shoes he had placed the umbrella, which showed that Zenno was not always conscious, and thus he had not attained a master's level of Zen."

Similar applies to most everyone: most everyone does not give conscious attention to what they are doing, which results in the individuals acquiring inadequate memories. Without conscious sensory perceptions, an individual's memories will be small and inaccurate. Without conscious eyesight, a 'hyperphantasia' individual cannot recall an accurate 'eyes closed' mental imagery. The ability to see visual images in one's mind is of no usefulness if the images are incorrect.

If an individual is unable to consciously observe their eyesight (like Zenno), then they are also unable to consciously observe their mental imagery. Having mental imagery is of no value if the person is still unable to discern what is seen.

From Sensory Perceptions Exhibit Intelligence: "Analogous of color blindness being that of the person only seeing one color, Sensory Perception Deficiency is the normal state of normal people's five senses only sensing one surface. SPD is one of the many attributes of normalcy. As compared to individuals with acute sensory perceptions, the normal person's senses are flat, two-dimensional at best, and generally useless except for the most menial of purposes. Sensate individuals perceive huge spheres of fluidly motioned sensory input, while the normal person is only able to perceive a static flat on-off-like mono-sense. Normal people generally only feel one surface, only see one surface, only smell one surface, only taste one surface, and only hear one surface."

Helen Keller, though blind and deaf, could describe objects better than what most people are able to describe with sight and their four other senses. Seeing images with one's eyes and within one's mind, does not infer high mental activity.

An individual of acute sensory perceptions is able to consciously observe, remember, and describe objects and places at a degree that is not possible to be attained by 'hyperphantasia' alone. The mental-construct of an acute sensate is literally beyond what the normal person is able to imagine, nor able to attain.

One reason of why acute mental-constructs are not mentioned in science nor in academic phantasia projects, is because the scientists and academicians themselves do not have the firsthand experience of acute senses, and thus they have no knowledge that it exists. Many 'aphantasia' individuals cannot image what it is like to 'see' visual images within their awake minds, and 'hyperphantasia' individuals cannot image what it is like for some so-called 'aphantasia' individuals to mentally-construct vivid memories of multi-sensory perceptions.

Without the personal firsthand experience of each variance of mental-constructs, no theory of 'phantasia' can be valid. With the exception of Bohm, no known scientist nor academician will ask for descriptions, and without anyone asking, the descriptions are never given, which, thus, leaves all 'phantasia' theories to be incomplete, flawed, and invalid.

Scientific Approaches to Phantasia

Literally, no science on earth has ever known what occurs when a person is seeing with their eyes. Different people apply different manners of seeing with their eyes, but scientists claim that everyone sees the identical same things within the identical same method. As also spoken of in Sensory Perceptions Exhibit Intelligence, in past years I had mentioned to a group of individuals within a high IQ society that I could see more colors than what is popularly said to be the maximum ability. The science believers, of course, said that I was wrong and a liar. A few years later, science finally admitted that some people see more colors than normal. Science gave the ability a new noun-name: "tetrachromacy".

Science was wrong. Science has always been wrong. Science is still wrong. Whatsoever science believes today, will be proven to be wrong in later years. That is just the way all science is.

Everything in the universe is different. Literally nothing is identical, the same, nor equal. Science literally denies that the laws of Nature exist. Science literally denies its own laws of science. All science of 'seeing' is pathological science.

If a 'hyperphantasia' individual cannot see more colors than normal, then the individual's mental imagery must also be limited of colors. Some 'aphantasia' individuals are able to see the 'tetrachromacy' scale of colors, and are also able to remember and recall all of the colors. Whether seeing or not seeing imaginary imagery, it makes no difference if the individual's memories are not adequate enough to provide useful information.

Without explaining the differences (which is part of a private research that will not be made public), it is enough to simply state that all known theories of eyesight are incomplete, inadequate, profusely ignorant of the topic, and thus thoroughly false, including the theories of hyperphantasia and aphantasia.

No known academic paper explains what occurs in the mind when an imaginary image is seen or not seen. All known academic papers only speak of things that the 'phantasia' projects are able to see and to imaginatively mathematically measure, but no comment is given about the physics of how 'hyperphantasia' and 'aphantasia' exist.

The simple answer of why no comments are given about the physics of the mind, is, because, science does not know enough to comment on. Science does not know what consciousness is, nor how the mind functions. Science knows literally nothing about dreams, memories, emotions, logic, nor anything else about the mind. The topic of 'hyperphantasia and aphantasia' is futile because without first knowing what consciousness is, and without first knowing the physics of the mind, then the words 'hyperphantasia' and 'aphantasia' are mere philosophical noun-names that have no coherent meaning.

The article Pathological Science has a generalized list (more darn noun-names!) of categories which point at different genres of people who speak of science topics: Natives (people who are naturally talented within a specific topic), Researchers (people who exert effort to achieve a similar talent as Natives), Hobbyists (people who enjoy investigating simple topics that require no talent), Employees (people whose job is to rearrange existing stuff into different shapes to be promoted and sold as 'new and improved stuff'), Sciencians (radicalized sciencism that preaches science to be a real entity that is to be worshipped as the one true truth), Philosophians (people without any talent except to imaginatively invent irrational explanations for things that the Philosophians have no knowledge of), Pulpiteers (people who recite memorized words from the books that were written by Hobbyists, Sciencians, and Philosophians), and Popular Science (a blend of Sciencian and Philosophian inventions based upon memorized words preached by Pulpiteers and the news media).

Almost universally, academic papers of hyperphantasia and aphantasia are written by Hobbyists, Employees, Sciencians, Philosophians, and Pulpiteers. Natives and Researchers know enough about the mind to know that the popular beliefs of 'hyperphantasia and aphantasia' are imaginary, and that the beliefs are not based upon a knowledge of the mind.

Hyperphantasia Versus Aphantasia - Which Is Better?

Of the many comments written by individuals within social media and other forms of online content, the focus usually falls upon the imagined assumption that the ability to imagine vivid mental imagery must be of a higher mental process. Let's test that assumption.

The following questions are simplified parallels of the Sensory Quotient (SQ) test of mental cognition, but the questions' topics are more than adequate enough for an individual to judge their own abilities.

Test #1 - Paper

Hold a piece of paper in your hands. Any size or shape is okay. Now, describe the paper.

One fellow first attempted to report the paper's color (of which he was unable to do), and then after a sizable hesitation, he struggled to say that the paper was rectangular of shape, and after a few additional basic inspections, he said that he would need a ruler to describe the size. The fellow's answers were similar to most everyone else's.

Individuals who scored well on the SQ test, they spoke at length of descriptions.

As the SQ tests progressed, it was verified that over 99.95% of everyone who took the tests, could not so much as adequately describe a piece of paper.

No known hyperphantasia individual is able to describe a piece of paper, not even while looking at the paper. (The Zenno story is parallel.) Nevertheless, aphantasia individuals most commonly tend to not be any better nor worse than hyperphantasia individuals. Seeing or not seeing imaginary imagery is irrelevant if the mind is unable to comprehend what is seen with the eyes.

Test #2 - Lunch

Describe what you had for lunch yesterday.

One fellow with a very high IQ, thought well of himself as he spoke of his descriptions, but his descriptions were as vague as the fellow who attempted to describe a piece of paper.

No known hyperphantasia individual is able to describe what they ate yesterday, nor today. Yes, of course, the individuals do believe that they are able to describe their lunch, but what they do not realize is that their descriptions are vague, and, that the individuals do not possess the mental ability to process complex thoughts.

Eating a meal is a highly complex activity. Few individuals are conscious while eating, and even fewer individuals give conscious attention to the complexities.

General hyperphantasia and aphantasia score similarly.

Test #3 - Seven Sensory Perceptions

Intricately describe the firsthand experience of no fewer than seven different sensory perceptions. Intricately describe sight, hearing, smelling, tasting, feeling, and at least two more.

Five senses are well-known, and two ought to be obvious, but almost no one on earth has ever mentioned either. If an individual has high mental cognition, then they will easily be able to know of at least seven sensory perceptions.

The 'hyperphantasia' ability to imagine mental imagery is of no value if a person is unable to describe what they visualize. Without full cognition of at least seven sensory perceptions (or even five), the 'hyperphantasia' individual is more blind than Helen Keller and the general aphantasia classification.

Seeing a picture on TV, on MRIs, on photographs, and in one's mind, is of no value if the picture is not capable of being consciously analyzed.

Test #4 - Describe An Analog Wave

Intricately describe an analog wave.

That is all that is asked. Merely describe an analog wave.

Everything within the 3-dimensional universe is composed of analog waves. Everything that everyone does is composed of analog waves. Everything everyone has ever seen was composed of analog waves. There is absolutely no excuse whatsoever for anyone to have not self-learned what analog waves are.

Analog waves are everywhere at all times, and yet only a precious few individuals are able to describe an analog wave. Hobbyists, Employees, Sciencians, Philosophians, Pulpiteers, and Popular Science cannot so much as begin to describe an analog wave. Individuals with the alleged highest IQs in the world also cannot do it (some of which do not so much as know what an analog wave is).

If 'hyperphantasia' inferred a lofty intelligence as many people claim, then 'hyperphantasia' individuals ought to easily be able to describe an analog wave. But it never happens, which permanently proves that 'hyperphantasia' is not a superior mental behavior.

Within real-world mental-constructs, general 'hyperphantasia' and 'aphantasia' have no advantage over the other. Of the minority who have the greater advantage, they are of the 'aphantasia' classification.


From Alo and De Example: "Alo: Here... my shoestring... an apple... it is easy, to learn of Nature's way, and to learn of differences, by, simply looking at Nature. Placing, the string, straight on the table... there, there is the common mind of outsiders'. Left side of string, point A... right side, point B... the outsider's math, all, point A to point B... no variation. Outsider's global religion... also relies on the same math... all, point A, to point B... no variation. ...Alo: Contrast... our people, easily score three-sixty... some, four-fifty... some, even higher... De... wrap the shoestring, around, around, different directions also... shoestring length ends... De's cognition... not end..."

Everyone — no exceptions — who believes in mathematics, cannot adequately describe anything. The use of mathematics for descriptions, proves that the individual has limited mental cognition. The use of flat visual details, also proves limited mental cognition.

SQ Test

The SQ test questionnaire was initially developed in the late 1990s, and was initially given to individuals within different high IQ societies. None of the tested individuals scored above a flat 90. Variations of the SQ tests were personally given to thousands of people from all walks of life. The average individual was not able to describe anything any better than what the fellow did with the piece of paper.

The SQ test's method has never been made public, and yet numerous people in high IQ societies — who without first asking about the SQ test's methodology — have claimed that the test does not measure intelligence. The invented claims only served to further reinforce the individuals' low measure of intelligence.

As mentioned in A Critique of Aphantasia, Hypophantasia, Phantasia, Hyperphantasia - The Degrees and Types of Ability to See or to Not See Images in One's Mind, a sizable percentage of people do cheat on IQ tests and others. Information gleaned from the SQ tests is not made public because the information would be used by individuals to cheat on various tests of mental cognition. A very common behavior is for test-takers to remember what they believed was a correct answer to a question, and for the test-taker to then deceivingly paraphrase the 'answer' while expecting the test's proctor would not notice.

Some academicians have attempted to copy-paste-plagiarize-paraphrase-steal-cheat the SQ test method, but the academicians' tests are extraordinarily childish, immature, and quite remarkably ignorant.


Known individuals who do not see hyperphantasia-like imaginary imagery when they close their eyes, are able to describe what they saw with far more details than what any known hyperphantasia individual is able to describe with their eyes open or closed. The SQ tests proved it to be so.


If an individual sincerely believes that they are able to describe what they see, then they are welcome to submit an answer to the analog wave question. If the answer is promising, then a full SQ test will be offered to the individual for free. We would truly enjoy discovering more individuals with quantitative and qualitative cognition.

The point here is that the so-called 'hyperphantasia' method of imagining imaginary images within one's mind does not infer that the individual is any smarter than anyone else, including 'aphantasia' individuals.

Dogs cannot build their own dog houses, mice cannot sanitize their own nests, horses cannot sew their own clothes, and most humans (including everything from 'hyperphantasia' to 'aphantasia') cannot adequately describe a piece of paper. All species have inherent limitations of mind. One of the predominate mental limitations of the human specie is the inability to consciously perceive, analyze, describe, and to rationally behave within the world around them. That is just how it is.

Related articles are on the HHAP Home Page.