Aphantasia, and how I see in my mind’s eye

I came across to this condition called Aphantasia. It is condition where one does not possess a functioning mind’s eye and cannot voluntarily visualize imagery.

I stopped thinking this. I have always thought that I’m really visual person. And in a way I am. I constantly stop looking things and try to save the image in my mind. But in reality I’ve found that actually I don’t get any sharp “picture” in my mind when I’m thinking something. It is more like monochromatic feel of objects around me. Like everything is clay that I mold in my mind. No colors per say.

When I imagine some color, it is more like a feeling. It’s really hard to explain. I have always been able to mix the color I want. I see the blues and yellows (and some cases the reds too) in the green I see. But in my mind I don’t see colors. Maybe that’s why I love doing these super colorful paintings.

Snake and praying mantis - Anne Koivumaki - Fine Art Anne
Snake and Praying Mantis


My hazy mental image

When I try to picture something in my head, I do it like I would draw with graphite, starting in one point and slowly building up the shape and details. And I need to keep all the pencil lines in my mind. It’s more easy when I do this same thing but kind of sculpting the image. Then I can turn it in my head. And if you ask me what do Elephant look like, I get the kind of feeling like I had huge elephant shape blob in front of me and slowly when I concentrate I can hype up the details, but it’s more like sculpting the object in front of me.

And always when I’m doing these mental images in my head, I have the feeling of distance, how close or far the object is from me. How large or small it is compared to me. It’s like I’m in room where the object is. More vivid than color (that I actually don’t even see) is how the object feels like. How heavy it is. How the curves feels in my hand. Perhaps that is why landscapes have always been so difficult to me to paint from memory, because those are so huge I can’t absorb all that.

When someone asks me to draw or animate some event (I do this at work. I do visual images from for example, how water is removed from paper when it goes through Press section in paper machine) I can do that. Easy! But what I see in my mind is not a picture but more like small details here and there and most of it is “feeling” of the movement when the water is squeezed through the paper. Again, like something physical. And when I think of the fur on dogs face, the feeling of the movement, direction and structure of that fur is more vivid than the actual “picture”. Everything is more like 3D and clay than photo or “painting”.

So.. How about You!
I would love to hear how You all see in your Minds Eye?
Is the thing You see highly detailed? Or is it like blob of clay, mass and shape? Do you see colors or is it black and white?

Here is few really interesting videos about this Aphantasia.


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