Aphantasia: The People Without a Mind's Eye | 'Out of Mind' | Wired UK

If you close your eyes and picture an apple, how clear is that apple in your mind? Most people can visualise images in their head instantaneously – this known as …


  1. Bad Moon Rising

    how vivid are the things people see supposed to be ? Is it supposed to be like you close your eyes and it looks like there is a physical apple behind your eyelids that looks exactly like an apple on a table when you have your eyes open? I can imagine things but its like a far off faint ghost image almost

  2. Lisa Humphries

    Amazing. It might be more than 1% though.
    I took a math class and the teacher was talking about the 3D graph (x,y,z). And he asked the class to picture a ball hidden half way in the corner of the room where the walls met… and at one point he turned around and asked, now who can see what I’m talking about? About 4 out of 35 of us raised our hands (I was one). That was the first time I learned that not everyone could visualize math.
    Now I know that not everyone can visualize any objects. Just amazing how different we all are!

  3. DaRemixMaɪstroʊ

    I have the opposite problem. I feel as if i see to much in my mind that I can't escape my mind running rampant with constant imagery creating a perspective that's hard to remember that what I'm seeing is either real or really imagined.

  4. Pri Pri

    I can't fully visualize things in my mind, but if I try really hard, I can only picture a faint outline. And I have to draw that outline myself. I thought it was really weird for someone who reads a lot because everyone else imagines these very detailed worlds, and I just can't do that.

  5. Orome

    I feel like I have this but I don't move on quickly. It's like the worst of both worlds.

    I guess I don't know 100%. Like I can think of a place I've been, I can think of the layout, but when I close my eyes I don't see it. I don't really see an apple too.

    Do people with aphantasia have visual dreams? Because I still do, but when thinking of something I don't see it.

  6. Kronik

    Seriously, how in the world can you be a conceptual VISUAL artist if you have aphantasia…

  7. Ros Lewis

    Great video, I think I have the opposite, I can’t visualise words, sounds only pictures, colours, shapes, even music, is visualised in shapes and colours, words can also have shapes, colours, etc for me. I can try and get sounds, but it is hard work. Emotions are the feeling, feel strongly.

  8. Adrian M

    Blind inside do they dream voices? People with def parents seem to react the same way. Maybe braille mixed with images could give them an idea 💡 of what seeing what we feel

  9. Cam

    What happens when someone with Aphantasia takes psychadelics and closes their eyes?🤔

  10. Dirty Work

    Same freaking place I learned I had it.

  11. L B

    Feeling bad because you don’t feel worse.

  12. Frozen Wolf

    I'm a vivid dreamer and professional digital artist. I used to read 100 pages an hour and be able to take what I read in novels, as if living in a dream world and seeing it fine. My hubby is more scientific minded. When he reads its just words. No images. I can look at a room and scale furniture in my head and move things around as if VR. He cannot. I have alot of issues with math. I see math as numbers only as written script. Its not pictures. He can do math in his mind, puts it together. I can't see math as numbers so I'm completely lost.

  13. ydela23

    – Picture an apple.
    Me picturing apple as drawn by a child, or a 2D shape of an apple, more like a generic shape, the symbol of the fruit.
    – What color is it?
    Me: Oh, now I need to put some color on it. Is it important in your story? Well, Red… wait no green… ok, let's go for red… or maybe green, depends, I'll decide that later.
    – What about the texture?
    Me: well, it's more like a 2D apple. You mean you wanted me to picture a real apple, 3D and stuff?
    – Can you picture the smell?
    Me: Oh boy, that start to be really complex here. Smell, that will be hard… I fear next you'll ask me to "hear" the sound when I take a bite.
    – Is there a leaf on the tip?
    Me: Never thought about that… You asked for a bl**dy apple, not a complete painting. Well no…, no leaf… I guess.

    The pictures of objects that will come to my mind will be very generic, more simplified shapes than specific images. I'll need to concentrate very hard, and I'll need time to picture a specific apple, car, house or person.

    So, no real aphantasia here, no black screen, but I build the image very slowly, starting from a generic version of the object. And I need a lot of time to enrich the picture with each new feature, with each new question. And I require a lot of focus energy to keep the image. The features are unstable, the color of my apple is not fixed.
    And indeed closing my eyes helps a lot.

  14. lia !

    is there also a name for when u can imagine things but very unclear, almost as if its very far away and you cannot really "grab" the image? cause thats what i have :/

  15. mercy coker

    I visuals things perfectly I almost get lost in my thoughts.I just found out some people can't

  16. Shoshon Caligula

    I always thought every one had an inner monologue, like I always talk to my self in my head or think inside with a voice but recently found out a friend of mine cannot to that.

  17. Dominick Leonardi

    Lately I've been struggling with the moving on too quickly aspect of aphantasia. I've had 2 deaths in the family in the last 2 months and while it's sad the emotion and grief is momentary and incredibly fleeting. Once a new thought arises or task to complete pops up the feeling is gone. As fast as a wave rolls in and out on the beach.

  18. Torn

    I didnt even know there was a name to this, i just thought yeah this is "normal" as in everyone saw the same. But I guess not, and I am not upset, not at all, moreso tired and relieved in a way. Really cool to learn about

  19. felt

    8:30 oh my god, that felt like such a revelation to me. I found out about aphantasia a little while ago, and suddenly, so many things made sense to me. But I’ve never heard someone talk about “tangibly feeling” characters. My whole life, I’ve always caught myself doing things like mimicking the expressions or emotions of characters I’m reading/writing about physically, without even realizing that I’m doing it until I already am. Does anyone else do this???

  20. The Filmmaker

    Who edited this?

  21. Yael Berg

    So these are the fuckwits that say there are no God. A disability named Afantasia.

  22. Jemima Boateng

    I’m confused, so you should see an image on the back of your eye lids? Doesn’t everyone see black but when you imagine something it’s still black physically behind your eyelids but your mind can imagine something – I hope I’m making sense lol

  23. JustPerson

    But they can dream?

  24. alfalfa

    I still don't buy that most people can see things when they close their eyes. It's so hard to imagine they can literally visualize whatever they want.

  25. Spirit of Salt

    I have never been able to visualize in my mind.
    Its never been a problem, aside from wanting to recall people from the past or who are now dead.

  26. Benjamin Feldman

    So when this guy got all the tattoos he had no idea how he’d look?

  27. Elvina Escobar

    When you picture these things do they have colour or are thy just shadow?

  28. Serial Glitter

    For me its pretty much like a movie in my head, everything is detailed and same for my dreams, they are vivid and precise

  29. Molly Sato

    Wow…this is so strange and fascinating to me! I’ve always had such a vivid imagination (almost too vivid, I’d say)… I wonder what dreams are like for people with aphantasia, I mean, I’m quite sure they dream, but what are they like?…

  30. Lydia Tyburski

    wouldn't some people have different reasons for being unable to visualize, one person may have an inborn condition, another person may have a spiritual blockage.

  31. Karine Müller

    aphantasia actually made me a creative person, because i couldn't visualize anything i would create things to help me with tha visualization, i really way more in sensations, emotions, and feelings to understand something, and it helped me to understand throughly things, i think the bad sides and good sides of if balance each other for me.

  32. Tylor Soll

    Here I thought the whole "picture yourself on a beach" thing was just an expression! I'm 36 and learning I have this. Probably explains why I had little imagination as a child.

  33. miera1029

    I sometimes wonder off with my day dreaming. I wonder if people with this can focus better?

  34. Sevi Regis

    This is very interesting to me. I never knew this. I am a visual person, have this ability to a strong degree and always thought everyone else had this natural ability too. But this explains why some people I know haven’t understood when I’ve spoken from imagery. Very well done documentary. Help us me understand these folks better.

  35. Vatt'Ghern

    Do they still dream tho?

  36. Andy Buzzi

    This is really confusing. No one can say empirically what it is like to “picture something in your mind”. To say that someone is not or that YOU are not picturing something is pure subjective. Aphantasia might just prove to be bad semantics.

  37. Thoomer

    And they called me a madman

  38. Calvin Goodall

    Do people with Aphantasia dream?

  39. Patrick Cruz

    So it’s like having no imagination. The inability to imagine to visualize things in your head.

  40. Bostonmass021

    Can people with Aphantasia dream? What do they see when they sleep?

  41. Merve Savur

    I can vividly see things in my mind and I think there is a downside of it; it made me prone to get distracted easily. In school I'd always daydream and could never focus on the classes.

  42. Building A New World

    I remember as a kid always being confused as to how people could “see” what they were reading. I could understand a book perfectly, but I never “saw” anything happening. I remember going to summer camp and freaking out cause I couldn’t remember my mom’s face. I saw a teacher every day for three years and couldn’t remember if he wore glasses.

    I learned about aphantasia about a year ago. Something I wanted to mention though was that I’ve also began meditating and practicing visualization in the time since then (mostly a coincidence, not with the express goal of improving) and I have experienced an increase in the frequency, clarity, and perhaps most strikingly, color vibrancy of my mental visualizations. It’s still mostly black, but every once and a while I get like a flash of color or imagery. It’s not dramatic, but I would say on some arbitrary scale of 0-100 mental vision, I went from like 5% (95% black nothingness) to around 10-15%. Which also makes sense if aphantasia is linked to less connectivity between the frontal and occipital lobes, as the brain is plastic and those connections should be able to be grown over time.

    So yeah you probably don’t need to get better at it, if you have aphantasia you’ve probably figured out how to think just fine without pictures. And obviously it might not be possible for everyone to improve. But I think more research should be put into this phenomenon in general, specifically how and what practices can improve visualization in people.

    I also think it would be fascinating to know about the variation in this phenomenon. As I said, it’s not that I had never visualized anything before, but I very rarely do (most of my thoughts are audible words) and if it does happen, it’s incredibly brief and dark/dull. But I’d be interested to know about the variety, whether there are people who truly can’t visualize under any circumstances. And whether there are people who can visualize a little, and hyper-visualize. I’m sure the variety is enormous, and it would be fascinating to learn more about this fun multiplicity in human experience. 💗

  43. Mark Reichardt

    I just realised I have Aphantasia by clicking through to this video by chance. Stopped the video half-way and had a bit of an existential freak out on my balcony. Almost broke my brain trying to summon that apple lol. Walked back in and finished the video and so much of what these people are saying rings true for me. The ease in moving on after a loss and my ability to live in the moment but also how after seeing a photo from my past I can be so taken by nostalgia that sometimes I can almost be brought to tears. Also as an artist I use those same techniques with my body in order to reference memories of body movement and facial expression. It's a lot to wrap ones head around, to scrutinise the way that you think when you've always assumed it was the same way everyone thinks. Anyhoo – I have chilled out and feel so grateful to have just learned something new about myself. I would have a cigarette now but I can't remember what the darn things look like.

  44. A T90

    Do they dream at least

  45. BBD

    I can't see this….

  46. BBD

    We're all good for something…variation creates talents, so we don't start, and end up the 'same' as everyone else…

  47. halfashine

    so none of these people have ever had a dream???

  48. Alex Easlick

    Wait do they dream?

  49. ChiefWellington

    Woah, This make me understand myself so much better. thank you for making this video.

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