What Is Aphantasia


What Is Aphantasia

Larry Neal Gowdy - Copyright ©2024 - January 03, 2024

Definitions of Hyperphantasia, Phantasia, Hypophantasia, and Aphantasia

Phantasia is a generic term given to the act of mental imagination. Everyone thinks different thoughts than everyone else. Everyone imagines things differently than everyone else. Phantasia is merely a term that alludes to whether or not a person's imaginations include imagery similar to what is seen with the eyes.

[i] Hyperphantasia is said to imply vivid imaginary mental imagery when the eyes are closed, allegedly as real of appearance as seeing a thing with open eyes. [ii] Phantasia is said to imply imaginary mental imagery that is less than vivid. [iii] Hypophantasia is said to imply imaginary mental imagery that is vague and/or 'washed-out', but is visibly recognizable. [iv] Aphantasia is said to imply that an individual does not have imaginary mental imagery.

Supporting Logic

Before proceeding to a brief discussion about the phantasia topic, it is useful to first state a few core principles of logic that help to determine whether a theory is valid or invalid.

[1] All things in Nature are different. No two things are identical, the same, nor equal.

[2] The events within each person's life enable the person to learn of the events, and to then base reasoning upon what was learned.

[3] All events of all people's lives are different. No two people can be identical, the same, nor equal of what was learned, nor be equal of how the people think.

[4] Commonsense and the scientific method rely upon firsthand observations. No theory can be valid nor scientific if there is no firsthand observation.

[5] If a thing cannot be intricately described, then the person does not know what the thing is, nor can the person form a rational theory of what the unknown thing is.

[6] All things are composed of other things. The outer behavior of a thing is dictated by what exists internally.

Firsthand Experience Enables Firsthand Observation

The only person who knows how you think, is you. It is easy to observe what other people are able or unable to vocally describe, but no one is able to observe your own thoughts.

If an individual is unable to intricately describe their own thoughts, then no one can know how the individual thinks, including the individual himself.

The core method of the Sensory Quotient (SQ) test of mental cognition (~1999 - 2015) was to ask participants to describe specific objects. Of the approximated 10,000 individuals tested from the general public, the only individuals who were able to adequately describe an object were [a] individuals of self-developed self-observation, and [b] chess players whose FIDE/USCF ratings were near or at master level. Out of the general population, the summed averages illustrated that less than one person in 10,000 would be able to adequately describe an object.

The SQ data is further validated by there not being any known historical writing that adequately describes an object, a sensory perception, a thought, a memory, the sense of beauty, nor anything else. The complete absence of descriptions within all known publicly available writings throughout history strongly supports the conclusion that very few individuals are able to describe what they see and sense.

All known publicly available research on -phantasia is based upon the descriptions given by each participant and by each project proctor. If the descriptions were inadequate, then so must the conclusions be inadequate.

The SQ results proved that it is highly unlikely that the participants within the -phantasia research projects would have been able to adequately describe their own thoughts. Thus, the -phantasia research projects' conclusions were inadequate.

Hyper- Hypo- A- Phantasia are Undefined Words

When a word is given to an unknown thing, the word does not make the thing known.

'Hyperphantasia', 'Phantasia', 'Hypophantasia', and 'Aphantasia' are words that name unknown things. If the things were known, then there would be no need for -phantasia research projects.

If a thing cannot be intricately described, then the speaker does not know what the thing is. The words 'Hyperphantasia', 'Phantasia', 'Hypophantasia', and 'Aphantasia' are not capable of being intricately described. The many -phantasia research projects' inadequate conclusions proved it to be so.

Hyper- Hypo- A- Phantasia are Products

Again, the only person who knows how you think, is you. You are not hyperphantasic, phantasic, hypophantasic, nor aphantasic. You are you. Regardless of whether you 'see' visual imagery when your eyes are closed, or if you 'see' no visual imagery, neither one is a deciding factor of how and what you think.

The mental behavior of seeing or not seeing imaginary imagery is (in part) the product of how and what you have learned in life. Individuals whose primary source of learning was though eyesight, those individuals may recall memories by inwardly visualizing what they saw. Individuals whose primary source of learning was through the other sensory perceptions of touch, aromas, tastes, and sounds, they may place less importance on what was seen, and thus the product may be the recalling of memories of all five sensory perceptions.

It is a law of Nature that all things are composed of other things. That which each individual valued and gave most attention to early in life, will also be how the individual recalls memories and imaginations today.

By how a healthy person's mind functions today, illustrates what the person has learned in life.

Is Hyperphantasia, Hypophantasia, Phantasia, and Aphantasia Genetic?

Yes and no. The term genetics is itself vague. Before an individual can know how genes function, first the individual must deeply understand what electricity is, and how molecules electrically interact. There does not exist a solid scientific understanding of what electricity is, nor of how molecules interact, and thus all theories of genetics are best guesses.

Too, it is obvious that different species' offspring are of a similar physical design as the parents, but a physical design is only one ingredient of many. Without entering into lengthy technical details, it is sufficient enough for the moment to simply say that everyone is born with the body's design, but what happens from there is largely dependent upon one's own choice.

As a simplified analogy, it is as if having a million light switches in one's mind. Flipping-on one switch enables hyperphantasia, flipping-on another switch enables aphantasia. Flipping-on several switches enables phantasia and hypophantasia. Though an individual might be born with one switch already turned on, it is still the individual's choice to flip-on other switches if wanted. The human mind is highly plastic, of being capable of reshaping. The reshaping of one's mind relies upon the self-will to self-exert the self-effort to self-change. The common belief that everyone's minds are 'either-or' is not valid.

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