Aphantasia definition: how does aphantasia differ from fantasy? Is this a disease? How to identify aphantasia in yourself? What treatment is prescribed if the test is positive?
What Is Aphantasia?
Aphantasia is a relatively recently talked about phenomenon. It is still poorly understood but has already attracted the attention of many people.
Each person is unique: someone has a good imagination, while others are great at working with numbers.
Scientists have recently discovered that there are people without fantasy. They cannot visualize in their minds various objects or terrain that they saw earlier.
Definition Of Aphantasia
You can easily understand the aphantasia definition if you disassemble the word into simple parts “a” in translation from ancient Greek means “without,” and the meaning of the word “Phantasia” is imagination.
So, aphantasia means a phenomenon in which a person completely lacks the ability to create images in front of the “mind’s eye.”
For the first time, this phenomenon was discovered back in the 19th century, but then it did not interest the world community.
Scientists returned to this issue again in the 21st century. The Aphantasia definition was introduced by a group of scientists at the University of Exeter in 2015.
Recent research shows that more than 2% of the planet’s total population may have such characteristics.
Many scientists worldwide are now studying aphantasia, trying to understand the reasons for its appearance and also to understand whether they can completely cure it.
Anyone can conduct the aphantasia test quiz. It is enough to close your eyes and try to imagine any object, for example, a geometric figure.
It is the easiest option. If you manage to imagine what you have wondered about (preferably in the smallest detail) for a few seconds, you do not have this phenomenon.
You can do the Aphantasia test quiz at any age. Often, people can live a whole life without knowing that they are somehow different from others.
The exact causes why this is happening are not yet known. There is an opinion that imagining a picture with closed eyes was vital in ancient times, as it helped to navigate the terrain better or remember essential skills.
Today modern technologies come to our aid. We no longer need to memorize such large amounts of information; we can abandon several skills that are no longer required.
Many scientists agree that aphantasia is not a disease. It’s just such an individual feature.
Nevertheless, now many scientists are developing an aphantasia cure, which would help a person learn to represent particular objects.
Aphantasia cure does not include drug treatment but keeps a list of recommendations that will be useful for a person with this feature:
- Improve the general state of memory;
- More often, look at bright pictures;
- Spend more time outdoors, especially in good weather, visit interesting, unusual places;
- Increase the spectrum of emotions that you experience, do not suppress them;
- Do unexpected things, such as unplanned trips or sudden gifts.
Scientists have found that vivid positive emotions positively affect the part of the brain responsible for fantasy. As a result, you need to do your best to make yourself feel happier.
Another effective way is to dream before bed. Typically, people who have aphantasia have incredibly vivid and beautiful dreams.
Unfortunately, they forget some of them, while others remain in their memory for a long time. So, scientists advise such people to dream more before bedtime, especially during falling asleep.
You must list your dream in your mind, but try to present it as vividly as possible, visualize it as clearly.
At the moment, there is no proven case when a person managed to get rid of this problem entirely.
Still, there are examples when a person begins to visualize a picture only during the period of falling asleep.
Given the fact that this phenomenon is poorly understood, even such results are pretty good.
If you passed the aphantasia test and gave a positive result, this is not a reason to be upset. It means that you are unique.
It is not a disease and does not mean that your brain is not working correctly. Often this feature does not bring discomfort.
But, if you want to get rid of it, several techniques can slightly improve the results.
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