Pixelation

General => General Discussion => Topic started by: ptoing on April 27, 2016, 04:59:06 am

Title: Aphantasia - not having the "mind's eye"
Post by: ptoing on April 27, 2016, 04:59:06 am
I recently found out that this condition I have now has a name "Aphantasia" - the inability to synthesise sense perception in ones mind. Things like mental images and inner voices don't mean anything to me, I do not have them.
Or well, I get an inner voice, kinda, but I do not hear it, it has not tone, no accent, no timbre, it is very hard to describe.

Here is a link to a site which deals with aphantasia and it has a set of questions which you can try and answer yourself, see how you fare.
http://aphant.asia/have-i-got-aphantasia (http://aphant.asia/have-i-got-aphantasia)

For me everything on there comes out absolutely zero, total aphantasia, regarding any senses.

It is impossible for me to imagine how it would be to not have this, to be able to actually visualise things I am not actually seeing with my eyes. I always knew that I could not do this, but being able to give it a name and talk to people who have it as well is comforting. It also seems to explain a lot, in terms of why I am the way I am.

When it comes to art it is also interesting. Basically I think on paper/in the program I am working in. I always liked to doodle, and to just combine things, try new things on paper. One of the reasons I enjoy doing those face sheets so much I reckon.

Would be interesting to hear from fellow artists who might have this as well, in varying degrees.
Title: Re: Aphantasia - not having the "mind's eye"
Post by: 0xDB on April 27, 2016, 08:21:06 am
Does it include the inability to experience dreams while the mind is asleep?
Title: Re: Aphantasia - not having the "mind's eye"
Post by: ptoing on April 27, 2016, 09:17:44 am
I dream just fine, and sometimes very vivid, have lucid dreams every now and then, so no problems there.
But I think for some people it also goes to not being able to dream, or at least not being able to remember their dreams.
Title: Re: Aphantasia - not having the "mind's eye"
Post by: 0xDB on April 27, 2016, 09:42:25 am
I was wondering about dreams because if they function "normally" it means the mind does not really lack the ability to synthesize sense perception. It then appears to just be different levels of access to that particular function of the mind, depending on whether the current state of the mind is awake or asleep.

Does not that imply 100% sanity and a rational mind though? If while awake, the mind is not muddled by imagined synthetic perceptions that just are not there? Isn't that the most sane state the mind can be in, only perceiving what is actually there and not imagining "random" noise on top of anything perceived at any given moment?

I don't want to claim it's nothing or not a problem but it is a pet peeve of mine that everything has to be a "condition" these days (which often implies that there is some negative "thing" that defines a person entirely, neglecting everything else that is wonderful and good about someone, usually accompanied by the claim a person will never be able to live a "normal" life without some sort of treatment or medication).

So... another question is how does this affect your ability to live your life? Or how is it a problem? How does it cause suffering (if any) and what kind of suffering? Is it possible that it's not just causing suffering (if any again) and instead is not rather also a "gift", something that allows you and others who have it, to really focus on the things they currently do instead of constantly being carried away in daydreams about other things?
Title: Re: Aphantasia - not having the "mind's eye"
Post by: ptoing on April 27, 2016, 10:07:09 am
I think people who have aphantasia access memory differently than those who have not. And maybe dreams have less to do with memory, who knows. But thinking about it, my dreams might be lacking some things, such as less of a sense of touch and I also don't remember if I ever smelled while dreaming, I certainly do not smell in dreams anymore after losing my sense of smell, but that is a different story.

Your point about the "sanity/clarity" aspect is an interesting one, but it's not like this is guaranteed. Things like paranoia and similar mental states still can happen, and you can still have hallucinations. For example I have peripheral movement hallucinations quite a bit, where I think that something in my peripheral vision is moving around, some insect or what have you, but a lot of the time it is nothing at all. Something I have gotten used to over the years.

When it comes to art I think maybe it helps in certain ways. For me the process of making a picture is very much a journey of revealing the image to myself, a lot of the stuff I do is entirely subconscious and I don't really have a lot of insight into what I am doing from a rational standpoint, as in I could not really explain it super well. This however makes making art for me interesting. It is a way to externalise things which I have no other access to, without being creative.

I am not sure how much it helps in terms of not daydreaming, I never was the best when it comes to time management and procrastination, and I tend to think a lot about stuff, just having an internal dialogue. But once I get down to do something and get into it I have a very good focus and learn things quite fast usually. The matter is more actually getting to that point.

I don't think that this is a disability, but I don't think that the term condition is problematic here, because that is what it is. However, I have had bouts of depression in the past and the fact that the inside of my mind is void of images, sound and so on, can give you a pretty powerful feeling of emptiness and disconnection that is hard to describe.

Also things like being able to visualise my girlfriend, who lives in the Philippines, or other loved ones, relatives and friends who have died, would be nice. I know what someone looks like, and I have a very good facial memory in terms of recognising people. But describing someone outside of really hard facts, like eyecolour, where they have moles, etc., is pretty much impossible for me, and I doubt that I could draw many people from memory, if any.
Title: Re: Aphantasia - not having the "mind's eye"
Post by: tsej on April 27, 2016, 10:24:56 am
On the subject of dreams, your website says http://aphant.asia/faq?catid=0&faqid=3

Also, one of their FAQ has a facebook comment section as source. Not very convincing.

I'd love to wait this out and see if their supposedly planned researches do happen, and what they find out.
I can see why it can give you bouts of depression. But you seem to be doing fine now, which is great. Don't complicate your life, man. You're a very good artist and I definitely look up to you, along with many others here.

Moving on..

I am able to visualize most things in black and white, like movements, patterns, boxes rotating, people turning, moving their arms etc, but it does take a little effort. Trying to imagine color is a little difficult, but doable.

What I found out is, this "visualization" mostly feasts on my memory and being able to recall things. The website tells you to visualize the contours of the face of someone who you see all the time. I tried to imagine my mother's face. I kinda could, but couldn't. Why? Because I never consciously decided to store that information in by head. Our brains filter out useless information all the time. I looked at my mom again and tried this again after an hour~ and viola, it was much easier.

Have you tried doing that? Seeing things and then visualizing them after some time? How did it go?

But yeah, please don't stress over this, if you are!
Title: Re: Aphantasia - not having the "mind's eye"
Post by: Ai on April 27, 2016, 10:31:15 am
So what happens when you attempt to draw blind (that is, without seeing the paper OR the subject)? I'm just trying to separate imagination and memory here, if they can be -- personally, I blind-drew the images requested in all questions possible, with accuracy increasing over time from 2/3 (vague/moderately clear) to 3/4/5 (moderately clear/reasonably clear/vivid as RL).. which is a slightly different test, but I would attribute my improving results to my memory and concentration clarifying over the course of the test.

EDIT: I see you have partially answered questions about memory, but any specific answer to this would be appreciated.

I tried to imagine my mother's face. I kinda could, but couldn't. Why? Because I never consciously decided to store that information in by head. Our brains filter out useless information all the time. I looked at my mom again and tried this again after an hour~ and viola, it was much easier.
This fits my experience; I agree with this model. I think there is reasonable evidence that I have at least mediocre visualization skills, though, so PMMV.

Title: Re: Aphantasia - not having the "mind's eye"
Post by: ptoing on April 27, 2016, 10:33:01 am
tsej:
Not stressing out over it, thanks for your concern, though.

As far as trying to make a conscious effort to remember things, like my mom's face. Doubt that would work. There are characters I have drawn a lot, personal ones, and stuff by Helm, like the Yus Bird and his ZX robot. I can draw those just fine, and consistently, but I still can not visualise them, no matter how hard I try.

And yes, this is a very new field of study, and I think atm there is only Dr. Zeman working on a proper study, from what I know.
Title: Re: Aphantasia - not having the "mind's eye"
Post by: tsej on April 27, 2016, 10:40:25 am
A few questions:
-Do you ever wander off somewhere in your brain while doing something?
-Have you ever had a hyperactive brain, trouble sleeping because of constant thoughts and/or images?

I also find it easier to visualize with my eyes open instead of closed, looking at a part of the floor or ceiling.

I suspect you have already, but have you tried exercises of watching a video, say a 3Dbox rotating slowly, observing it and then closing your eyes and immediately trying to recreate it?

And glad you're not stressing over! Man, people get hung up on these little things sometimes and that ruins their lives.
Title: Re: Aphantasia - not having the "mind's eye"
Post by: ptoing on April 27, 2016, 10:50:00 am
My general thought patterns are very associative, so yeah, my mind does tend to wander. It is also something that I had to learn to suppress in conversation, because people found it hard to follow my jumps in topic (understandably)

I have had the hyperactive brain thing quite a few times, and had an episode of quite bad insomnia in my late teens, so yeah.

Does not matter how I try to visualise something, I just can't. Zilch every time.

I don't think that it is a little thing, as it can have a quite profound impact on you every now and then,
but I agree that it is not something worth stressing over in general.
Title: Re: Aphantasia - not having the "mind's eye"
Post by: Ai on April 27, 2016, 11:13:12 am
I can draw those just fine, and consistently, but I still can not visualise them, no matter how hard I try.
So what do you attribute that to -- muscle memory?
Title: Re: Aphantasia - not having the "mind's eye"
Post by: ptoing on April 27, 2016, 11:35:47 am
Partly maybe, but not fully. They are simpler shapes that a human face. And it is not like I have a bad memory. I have a very good memory overall, just that I access those things in a nonvisual, abstract way. Again, hard to describe.
Title: Re: Aphantasia - not having the "mind's eye"
Post by: tsej on April 27, 2016, 11:39:10 am
What is your approach to art? Do you think you're analytical or intuitive?

Also, interesting read https://www.verywell.com/left-brain-vs-right-brain-2795005
Which is apparently said to be a Myth now? I remember it being a fad.
So, with things like this we should not really come to conclusions, I think.
Title: Re: Aphantasia - not having the "mind's eye"
Post by: ptoing on April 27, 2016, 11:56:40 am
I would say it is both analytical as well as intuitive. I used to doodle a lot when I was drawing on paper more (something I really should get back to), and I used to do blind scribbles and then make characters out of those scribbles, like this one here:

(https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/15588722/post/pix/blobodile.jpg)

A lot of the stuff that happened in those experiments I took up as things I now do a lot. One of those was the weird nostrils I do, though those did not happen as a result of a blind scribble.

The left/right brain thing is quite different though, as for that there would not even be any evidence that you make out yourself. You do not know which parts of your brain are active, your brain is pretty much a black box to you.

But people with aphantasia can tell you that they can not visualise things in their mind, and people who can, can tell you they can. So in that way the "conclusions" part does not really make sense.

The conclusion so far is that some people have worse visualisation skills than others, and some have none at all.
That is pretty much it so far from what I know, what might cause it, and how it works, we do not know.
Or if there is any way to somehow "fix" it. Then the question would also be what the impact on a brain that never did this kind of thing for ages, and now suddenly doing it, would be.
Title: Re: Aphantasia - not having the "mind's eye"
Post by: 0xDB on April 27, 2016, 02:45:43 pm
I can envision things very vividly, almost perfectly lifelike. When I walk around in the real world, I can envision a Dinosaur stomping through the fields almost like it's really there. I often remember my dreams, I had plenty of lucid dreams (though not many in more recent years, so I wonder if it's an ability that is lost as a mind ages or the result of fairly frequent and sometimes heavy beer "usage") and all my senses seem to work even in dreams.

And yet, even with the ability to imagine things lifelike like that, I do not possess the skill to just easily recreate the vision into something tangible on a piece of paper or another medium for others to observe.

For me, the struggle with becoming good at visual crafting (avoiding the term art for most of what we do is not art by any cultural definition I think, unless "art" is simply an abbreviation for "artificial" as in made by a conscious creator and not given by nature) is the struggle to get better at translating the imagined from the realm of non-corporial ripples on the mind into a picture of that imagination which can be observed and "touched" in the real world by other minds who will then again turn it into ripples of their own which may or may not be like my ripples.

So, I do not think the phenomenon of not being able to recreate something accurately from the mind, whichever form of existence it has in there, be it verbally or non-verbally, is necessarily bound to be an effect of Aphantasia. It's either that or maybe my mind just somehow fools itself when it thinks it has those clear visions and is in fact completely aphantasiac which would be an easy excuse for a lack of creativity and an inability to easily make something out of imagination (or lack thereof).

Isn't creating something out of nothing(nothing as in the total absence of or an incomplete pre-formed imagination) on paper or anywhere else one of the most creative things one could do if not the definition of creativity itself? Making something from "nothing"?
Title: Re: Aphantasia - not having the "mind's eye"
Post by: ptoing on April 27, 2016, 04:35:49 pm
I can envision things very vividly, almost perfectly lifelike. When I walk around in the real world, I can envision a Dinosaur stomping through the fields almost like it's really there. I often remember my dreams, I had plenty of lucid dreams (though not many in more recent years, so I wonder if it's an ability that is lost as a mind ages or the result of fairly frequent and sometimes heavy beer "usage") and all my senses seem to work even in dreams.

The dino part just sounds crazy to me, I can not imagine that at all. Sounds freaky.
And yeah, I think alcohol can affect how you dream, so that might be the case. That said, I also had more lucid dreams when I was younger, and I do not drink. But I also know that it can be practised.

Quote
And yet, even with the ability to imagine things lifelike like that, I do not possess the skill to just easily recreate the vision into something tangible on a piece of paper or another medium for others to observe.

I would say this is just where practise comes in.

Quote
For me, the struggle with becoming good at visual crafting (avoiding the term art for most of what we do is not art by any cultural definition I think, unless "art" is simply an abbreviation for "artificial" as in made by a conscious creator and not given by nature) is the struggle to get better at translating the imagined from the realm of non-corporial ripples on the mind into a picture of that imagination which can be observed and "touched" in the real world by other minds who will then again turn it into ripples of their own which may or may not be like my ripples.

I think this is the same for all artists, or at least a huge portion of us.

Quote
So, I do not think the phenomenon of not being able to recreate something accurately from the mind, whichever form of existence it has in there, be it verbally or non-verbally, is necessarily bound to be an effect of Aphantasia. It's either that or maybe my mind just somehow fools itself when it thinks it has those clear visions and is in fact completely aphantasiac which would be an easy excuse for a lack of creativity and an inability to easily make something out of imagination (or lack thereof).

When it comes to recreating something as art, then no, nothing to do with aphantasia. If that was the case you would not get people who have it, like me, make art. Again, I think it comes down to practise, and creativity can be practised as well, and is largely down to your visual library, things you studied and observed, and made studies/sketches of. The idea of the mind thinking it has visions but it not having visions does not really make sense to me. Either you see stuff, however vague or lifelike, even if it is not really there, or you don't. I don't think there is a thing like imagining that you imagined something.

Quote
Isn't creating something out of nothing(nothing as in the total absence of or an incomplete pre-formed imagination) on paper or anywhere else one of the most creative things one could do if not the definition of creativity itself? Making something from "nothing"?

I don't think anyone is making anything from nothing, we all have influences, things we have seen, a visual repertoire so to speak. I have this as well, it just does not get accessed in a visual sense in my brain. I think a large part of creativity is how much you can store of what you perceive, and how easily you can access and then recombine it. How you access it is probably not all that important, just that you can somehow access it.

The recombination then can take place in the mind, and from there onto the paper or whatever medium you use. In my case I do most of it digitally, though I do it in my mind as well, just not visually, again, hard to describe.
Title: Re: Aphantasia - not having the "mind's eye"
Post by: surt on April 27, 2016, 07:12:19 pm
My experience is pretty much identical in all points to what ptoing describes.

I can't see things in my mind, feels more like I'm given a list of traits describing the subject.
I do feel like seeing is just past the edge of my concious mind, that my unconscious has access to it but is only passing a non-visual translation of it to my conscious.

And yet, even with the ability to imagine things lifelike like that, I do not possess the skill to just easily recreate the vision into something tangible on a piece of paper or another medium for others to observe.
Does it differ from you ability to capture an actually seen image (life drawing, reproducing a photo)?
Title: Re: Aphantasia - not having the "mind's eye"
Post by: 0xDB on April 27, 2016, 08:34:00 pm
I agree with everything that has been said about practice. That was the main reason for me to share "my" view on these things, to point out(by fishing for re-assurance (sorry)) how I think the effect of the described condition on ones ability to do visual crafting is probably minimal (or there even is no effect on it at all, at least none that would be causing "art problems" that are not shared by everyone in the field equally).

And yet, even with the ability to imagine things lifelike like that, I do not possess the skill to just easily recreate the vision into something tangible on a piece of paper or another medium for others to observe.
Does it differ from you ability to capture an actually seen image (life drawing, reproducing a photo)?
Yes it differs greatly from that. Drawing from life or from a photo I find relatively easy once the mind is ready to "see" things in a certain mode. It's exhausting and tedious still and time passes without noticing while in that mode (drawing from life or photo) and the result is never 100% accurate like a camera could capture it (nor do I find that to be a goal worth pursuing as it would just be a waste of time and a camera would do a better job).

Envisioning things like they are there is also different from seeing/observing what is really there. Drawing something "seen" is relatively effortless if I managed to make up the mind that it is what I want to do (judging the accuracy of the result is a different story).

Perhaps envisioning things is equally hard to describe as describing Aphantasia. It is not to be imagined like the envisioned thing is really really "there". It does NOT in part replace the actual perceptual sensation. I still just "see" what's really there, the envisioned image does not override the sensory input, meaning, if it was possible to display the sensory input on some device during the deliberate envisioning of the Dinosaur in the field, the sensory input would still only show the field and no Dinosaur in there anywhere.

Envisioning takes effort and intent. Lots of it. Seeing on the other hand does not, seeing just happens automatically. Dinosaurs (using that as general placeholder for anything) don't just randomly pop in without intent and effort and like just written, the envisioned thing does not replace the visual sensation at all, so if I look and see, there is still just the field, the earth, the grass, some rocks, but yet, the Dinosaur can still be envisioned there. It exists in some place else though, outside of the raw vision and somehow the mind combines both and it's there without being "there". Perhaps that is what I mean by there being the possibility that it is somehow just the mind fooling itself.

What might be an interesting experiment would be to try envision a thing and then try to keep the vision up and running (which I imagine to require insane amounts of intent and effort or "make believe", perhaps even self-hypnosis if that exists) and then on top of that try to draw it like drawing something from life as if it existed not just inside some unknown space in the mind.

Also, now I am more curious about this and would like to know if there are people who can actually envision things in a way that the things really do override the sensory input, e.g. look at your keyboard and "see" a little Kobold there, really replacing the image of the keyboard in parts, like it covers the entire numberpad maybe and hides that from your vision instead of just existing there somehow in addition to the keyboard but purely as a figment of imagination in the mind and you still see the numberpad or spacebar or wherever you imagine the Kobold to be.
Title: Re: Aphantasia - not having the "mind's eye"
Post by: DracoDragon42 on April 27, 2016, 08:52:43 pm
Just want to say something on this post, because its really cool what you're talking about here. I understand what OxDB is talking about, how (if I understand correctly) you don't physically see a dinosaur in a field, you just imagine that same field with a dinosaur in it, in your head, and it makes it so that the dinosaur is in the field, in your head. It's weird and hard to explain but whatever. So, something that's weird is that I think my brother might have something completely different than any of this. To explain it to me he said, that when hes drawing, he can basically see what he wants to draw on the paper, but his hand gets in the way. That makes me think that he has an elevated sense of this. So, yeah.
Title: Re: Aphantasia - not having the "mind's eye"
Post by: Ai on April 28, 2016, 12:44:46 am
Just want to say something on this post, because its really cool what you're talking about here. I understand what OxDB is talking about, how (if I understand correctly) you don't physically see a dinosaur in a field, you just imagine that same field with a dinosaur in it, in your head, and it makes it so that the dinosaur is in the field, in your head. It's weird and hard to explain but whatever. So, something that's weird is that I think my brother might have something completely different than any of this. To explain it to me he said, that when hes drawing, he can basically see what he wants to draw on the paper, but his hand gets in the way. That makes me think that he has an elevated sense of this. So, yeah.
That could be more literal than you think.For some angles, your hand physically blocks you from seeing the location on the paper that you are drawing near.

To be sure, though, it would take a lot of talking about definitions and what exactly is being experienced, to be really sure. (this is the same issue I have with the test ptoing linked. Self-reporting things whose definition has not been exactingly nailed down == data that you only -think- means something.)

Envisioning things like they are there is also different from seeing/observing what is really there. Drawing something "seen" is relatively effortless if I managed to make up the mind that it is what I want to do (judging the accuracy of the result is a different story).
This is one reason I asked ptoing about completely blind drawing: I can make up an object from a bunch of objects mentally, and blindly draw it (with consistency and completeness, if not accuracy).. but my typical level of subjective experience that I am visualizing during this is either near zero or zero. Am I -really- not visualizing, or is the visualizing happening on a sub-conscious level?

(FWIW, the dinosaur exercise is easy for me. Anything where there are enough context clues that I can understand the environment, I can mentally edit it. More 'points of editing' is harder (dinosaur counts as one, any independent effect triggered by dinosaur would count as another..))


Quote
Envisioning takes effort and intent. Lots of it.
Strongly agree.

Quote
What might be an interesting experiment would be to try envision a thing and then try to keep the vision up and running (which I imagine to require insane amounts of intent and effort or "make believe", perhaps even self-hypnosis if that exists) and then on top of that try to draw it like drawing something from life as if it existed not just inside some unknown space in the mind.
These people who talk about 'tulpas' seem to be talking about the first 80% of that process. Whether they actually succeed or something else happens, I don't know.

The blind drawing exercise I described seems to fit the general bill, actually (visualize+hold+draw). The blind part seems to be key -- I am gradually coming to think that at a base level I draw much better if I can't literally see anything at all while I have the pen down! Which is bizarre, but might be about visual feedback disrupting my own "visualization" + coordination process.
Title: Re: Aphantasia - not having the "mind's eye"
Post by: DracoDragon42 on April 28, 2016, 01:31:17 am
The blind drawing exercise I described seems to fit the general bill, actually (visualize+hold+draw). The blind part seems to be key -- I am gradually coming to think that at a base level I draw much better if I can't literally see anything at all while I have the pen down! Which is bizarre, but might be about visual feedback disrupting my own "visualization" + coordination process.
That actually makes a lot of sense, because when I'm laying in bed and its very dark where I can't really see anything, I have a very vivid imagination and a lot of times, I will think of characters, and their animations and stuff that I want to draw. It's also really cool because if I'm imagining something while I'm falling asleep I might have a lucid dream about what I'm imagining. Also one thing that I've done before is listen to music and close my eyes and imagine what I think the music would be in a visual form. I think I'm gonna try what you said about drawing with your eyes closed and see what the result is. I feel like it would be a good exercise for visualizing things while drawing.
Title: Re: Aphantasia - not having the "mind's eye"
Post by: kullenberg on April 28, 2016, 03:36:36 am
Just want to say something on this post, because its really cool what you're talking about here. I understand what OxDB is talking about, how (if I understand correctly) you don't physically see a dinosaur in a field, you just imagine that same field with a dinosaur in it, in your head, and it makes it so that the dinosaur is in the field, in your head. It's weird and hard to explain but whatever. So, something that's weird is that I think my brother might have something completely different than any of this. To explain it to me he said, that when hes drawing, he can basically see what he wants to draw on the paper, but his hand gets in the way. That makes me think that he has an elevated sense of this. So, yeah.

Not him, but going by his description my mind works similarily. In my case my visualisations can get (but not always - some things are more difficult than others to picture) so prominent that they appear to actually phase in and out of reality, almost like a interdimensional being materalizing for a brief moment... It's literally like a picture superimposed over reality. It's a somewhat fleeting image but it's enough to actually make me uncomfortable at times - for instance, I was a the swimming hall and while underwater I got the urge to picture a big shark approaching me from the other end. I saw a flash of it and it made me quite uncomfortable. I had to pause and take a few moments to recollect myself before swimming again. I know, sounds super childish - because well, it is. I'm a gown ass man at 34 yet my mind is still very child like in many aspects. I suppose some people like me never grow out of it.
Title: Re: Aphantasia - not having the "mind's eye"
Post by: tsej on April 28, 2016, 03:53:29 am
@Kullenberg do you get a weird feeling in your stomach or feel a little anxious when trying to do that consciously?
Title: Re: Aphantasia - not having the "mind's eye"
Post by: kullenberg on April 28, 2016, 04:06:31 am
@Kullenberg do you get a weird feeling in your stomach or feel a little anxious when trying to do that consciously?

Hmm no I don't think so, but the mental image it produces may trigger such anxiety. Is that something you experience or have you heard others have it?
Title: Re: Aphantasia - not having the "mind's eye"
Post by: tsej on April 28, 2016, 04:15:48 am
Yes, I can visualize things and hear them with my eyes open, rather I find it easier to do it that way but it makes me feel weird and anxious. Well, I already have high levels of anxiety since I was a child anyways.
I guess..it makes my limbs feel light? Another thing that happens when I get really anxious, so I drew parallels there.

It's not a superpower or nearly as impressive as it sounds, but yeah. It's not even close to what people might see when they're hallucinating.

edit: By "hear them", I mean I can imagine the sound it will make and I can hear it. I don't even know how to explain it.
Title: Re: Aphantasia - not having the "mind's eye"
Post by: ptoing on April 28, 2016, 08:26:53 am
Ai: I have done blind contour drawings before, as in drawing something without looking at the paper, just looking at what you draw. They come out like most peoples drawings who have not done this a lot, wonky, but often recognisable.

As for drawing totally blind the result is pretty much the same, but often more wonky, because I do not have very clear tracking of where the pen is. Moreso when I have my eyes closed even.

Also, on the topic of definition and selfreporting, I guess we just have to take each other by our words. I believe that there are people who can actually manifest sense-perception in their minds without there being external input. I see no reason why friends would lie to be about this. And you would have to believe me that I am 100% incapable of doing this, always have been, as long as I can think back.
Title: Re: Aphantasia - not having the "mind's eye"
Post by: Ai on April 28, 2016, 10:38:23 am
Ai: I have done blind contour drawings before, as in drawing something without looking at the paper, just looking at what you draw. They come out like most peoples drawings who have not done this a lot, wonky, but often recognisable.

As for drawing totally blind the result is pretty much the same, but often more wonky, because I do not have very clear tracking of where the pen is. Moreso when I have my eyes closed even.
Interesting; I'd say that sounds quite similar to my experience.

Quote
Also, on the topic of definition and selfreporting, I guess we just have to take each other by our words. I believe that there are people who can actually manifest sense-perception in their minds without there being external input. I see no reason why friends would lie to be about this.
I don't disagree with the distinction of 'aphantasia' or think that any intentional deception is involved. I just want to be clear about what 'aphantasia' is REALLY supposed to BE, before I go drawing conclusions about it. When I read 'people who can actually manifest sense-perception in their minds without there being external input', I ask:

* 'what is the step-by-step process of sense-perception?'
* 'Is there really no external input? Are other senses feeding into the visual sense at all?' ,
* 'what is the person's real conception of what they are doing?' (as opposed to the usually very vague words they use to describe it)
* 'In what ways are two individuals' sense perception comparable, and in what ways are they incomparable?'

(In other words, I believe 'taking each other by our words' is inadequate for real communication in this case because the subject we are attempting to discuss is far too vague to begin with. It's what I'm doing too, because I have no answers to the questions above, but here I would classify it as 'socializing' more than 'communication').
Title: Re: Aphantasia - not having the "mind's eye"
Post by: ptoing on April 28, 2016, 11:07:26 am
I have talked to quite a few people about their experiences with visualising things, not just seeing, but also hearing, smelling and so on.

Of course there was some external input at some point to give your brain the memory of something, for example a favourite cake of yours, your mom used to make when you were little.

Most people I talked with would be able to visualise that cake, seeing it more or less vague, but also getting a sense of smell and sometimes taste too. For some it would be pretty much like having taken a bite of the cake a while ago and still having the lingering aftertaste without the cake actually being in their mouth. I get nothing like that, not even vague, just nothing.

Quick going over your points:

Quote
* 'what is the step-by-step process of sense-perception?'
One or more of your senses get/s input/s from outside, be it light, soundwaves, smell particles, sense of touch etc, and then processes this to make you see, hear, feel, taste, etc things.

Quote
* 'Is there really no external input? Are other senses feeding into the visual sense at all?'
As I said, of course there has to be initial input at some point, you can not get the sense of tasting a strawberry if you never tasted one. But someone who can synthesise sense perception in their mind could probably go into an isolation chamber and easily visualise strawberries and what they taste like.

Code: [Select]
* 'what is the person's real conception of what they are doing?' (as opposed to the usually very vague words they use to describe it)I think this is the biggest issue. I have read about people who have aphantasia never really thinking there was such a thing as "the mind's eye", it just being a metaphor. Then finding out that, no, it is not just a metaphor and there are people who can manifest visuals for themselves with their minds is pretty crazy sounding.

Code: [Select]
* 'In what ways are two individuals' sense perception comparable, and in what ways are they incomparable?'I would say that they are comparable in that you can hook people up to an EEG machine and see what their brain is doing while they do things like looking at stuff, and then things that would lead people to visualise things, like reading for example. Of course you could always make the argument that you do not know what other people perceive, and my green might be totally different than your green. I however think that from what we know about evolution and neuroscience among other things, we can be fairly certain that most people, those who fall into the "norm" spectrum, perceive things very similar at a sense level. How they interpret things of course will vary due to factors such as upbringing, culture, biases, what have you.
Title: Re: Aphantasia - not having the "mind's eye"
Post by: 32 on April 28, 2016, 11:40:13 am
This is pretty interesting :)

It's hard for me to think of my imagination not functioning the way it does. If I'm drawing I get quite a lot out sitting here thinking about what different designs and animations might look before putting pen to paper. Of course often my minds eye turns out to be dead wrong about what would look good or even what would be physically possible  :D.

I think the act of physically drawing is a necessary stage of the process as it is impossible for me to hold an entire figure or animation in my head. I would say the visualisation portion of the work is more like getting a sense of what the gesture of a pose or animation (character stuff is 90% of what I do) will be like rather than actually getting it to a level where I just need to copy it down to the page.

Would it be impossible for you to design something in your head and then draw it down? Say a novel outfit or creature? To what stage can you think your way through a drawing? Only as far as "I'd like to draw a sword" not "oh yeah it could look cool with a pointy part on the blade there"?
Title: Re: Aphantasia - not having the "mind's eye"
Post by: ptoing on April 28, 2016, 11:43:32 am
I can conceptualise decently well in my mind without having to draw. So in the case of a sword I could think about how I want the blade, be it single or double edged, curved, straight, how the hilt looks, how the crossbar looks, all that stuff. But it is abstract concepts and words, not images that I think in. So in a way it is knowing how it might come out based on previous thing I have seen and drawn myself.
Title: Re: Aphantasia - not having the "mind's eye"
Post by: Atnas on April 28, 2016, 11:59:14 am
Spooky, I thought mental visualization was something everyone had in varying degrees.

For me even emotions and stuff are abstract visualizations. When I think of the term "excited" and I try to 'look' at the feeling in my head, I see a yellow outline of some form like an amoeba that's suddenly getting dispersed like an egg does when thrown into a pan with a flick of a wrist, and immediately starts to crackle against the 'oil', before fizzling out. Except, not like an egg or oil, it's just the closest thing I can describe it as without showing it. I normally just feel this, but I can also.. focus on the feeling, and then I see it. Almost like my mind's eye is looking forwards, and I just have to turn the eye to the side, and it comes into focus. I observed this particular instance while high, but its reproducible while sober. Although the eye feels 'stuck' to one direction/mode of viewing without the assistance of drugs.

I'm not sure if this is projecting visuals onto a feeling, or simply how I process them to begin with... When I was a child, I used to get blinding migraines often, and I would have vivid visualizations during them. When it rained during a migraine, I couldn't concentrate on what my eyes were or were not seeing without the sound of the rain visualizing in the 'front' of my brain, overtaking all my thoughts, and I'd just see a huge sea of what the rain sounded like, as if my mind was a flat liquid and the noise of the raindrops was disrupting my mental vision and fucking it all up to the point of me wanting to throw up.

I'm thinking it might be worth it to try to animate what every feeling/emotion looks like to me, it's a thought that I've been nursing for a while, but hearing that there are people that don't actually see their emotions in visuals because they can't see in their heads at all makes me more intrigued.

Really cool discussion all around.

About the sword thing, I can just make it in my head as if it was on paper or a screen, and change stuff around. The problem comes when focusing on details, there are portions that get lost and bumped out of RAM so to speak, but I think that's just a thing that can be trained. I'd feel mute or blind without that. It's amazing you can do the work you do without that ability.
Title: Re: Aphantasia - not having the "mind's eye"
Post by: 32 on April 28, 2016, 12:03:46 pm
I think in a lot of ways the "minds eye" tricks you up anyway. I couldn't count the number of times I thought I knew exactly how something was going to look before trying to draw it and finding it made no sense in physical reality.

I think the idea of people who actually physically see imagined things is far more bizarre than the idea that you couldn't "visualise" something. I've never heard of that. Makes you wonder just how differently people can experience the world.

Edit: I would describe the process of visualising the sword in the same way. I could trace my eye around the edges of it but if I want to see the tip I cannot see the hilt. There's definitely a pretty low limit to how much I can visualise at once and to what fidelity I can imagine it.

Edit 2: I'd also add that probably our physical sense of sight is restricted in much the same way, you can see a whole room but you can only focus on one thing at a time.
Title: Re: Aphantasia - not having the "mind's eye"
Post by: Ai on April 28, 2016, 01:29:03 pm
Spooky, I thought mental visualization was something everyone had in varying degrees.

For me even emotions and stuff are abstract visualizations. When I think of the term "excited" and I try to 'look' at the feeling in my head, I see a yellow outline of some form like an amoeba that's suddenly getting dispersed like an egg does when thrown into a pan with a flick of a wrist, and immediately starts to crackle against the 'oil', before fizzling out. Except, not like an egg or oil, it's just the closest thing I can describe it as without showing it.
This is so cute. I mean, seriously. I would like to see your animation of this.



Quote
I'm thinking it might be worth it to try to animate what every feeling/emotion looks like to me, it's a thought that I've been nursing for a while, but hearing that there are people that don't actually see their emotions in visuals because they can't see in their heads at all makes me more intrigued.
I sincerely hope you're familiar with the term 'synaesthesia'. If not, look it up. I think experiencing emotions as visuals qualifies.

(this happens to me too sometimes, though without animation.)

Quote
About the sword thing, I can just make it in my head as if it was on paper or a screen, and change stuff around. The problem comes when focusing on details, there are portions that get lost and bumped out of RAM so to speak, but I think that's just a thing that can be trained. I'd feel mute or blind without that. It's amazing you can do the work you do without that ability.
As someone who can visualize but typically doesn't, I want to train that for memory/concentration purposes. I'm unsure whether it has clear benefit to drawing, though I guess it would be very hard to know for sure (One of the things I'm beginning to suspect from discussing in this thread, is that my sense of visual relationships is running at least partially off my proprioception. Maybe I am mentally replacing part of my sense of 'my body' with the object I'm drawing?)

I have talked to quite a few people about their experiences with visualising things, not just seeing, but also hearing, smelling and so on.

Of course there was some external input at some point to give your brain the memory of something, for example a favourite cake of yours, your mom used to make when you were little.

Most people I talked with would be able to visualise that cake, seeing it more or less vague, but also getting a sense of smell and sometimes taste too. For some it would be pretty much like having taken a bite of the cake a while ago and still having the lingering aftertaste without the cake actually being in their mouth. I get nothing like that, not even vague, just nothing.
Huh.. I just realized -- probably most of my 'visualization' went into audio. I have a pretty detailed memory of music and can 'set a tune playing' mentally; usually it is an active effort to stop it. I usually have one running.
Sorry. I was just wondering whether turning that off would improve performance in other areas.

Quote
Quote
* 'what is the step-by-step process of sense-perception?'
One or more of your senses get/s input/s from outside, be it light, soundwaves, smell particles, sense of touch etc, and then processes this to make you see, hear, feel, taste, etc things.
Mea culpa. The 'and then processes this' is what my question was intended to get at -- that until we know roughly what is occurring inside of 'and then processes this', and can walk a person through it, there's real doubt of whether [what we are prompting the person to try and do] is genuinely [visualizing].
(square brackets added to make that sentence less confusing.)

Quote
Quote
* 'Is there really no external input? Are other senses feeding into the visual sense at all?'
As I said, of course there has to be initial input at some point, you can not get the sense of tasting a strawberry if you never tasted one. But someone who can synthesise sense perception in their mind could probably go into an isolation chamber and easily visualise strawberries and what they taste like.

I meant at the time that the synthesization is occurring. But I think it might have been a poor question (since you almost always have some sensory input of the relevant type to compare the experience of X [strawberries] with)

Quote
Code: [Select]
* 'In what ways are two individuals' sense perception comparable, and in what ways are they incomparable?'I would say that they are comparable in that you can hook people up to an EEG machine and see what their brain is doing while they do things like looking at stuff, and then things that would lead people to visualise things, like reading for example. Of course you could always make the argument that you do not know what other people perceive, and my green might be totally different than your green. I however think that from what we know about evolution and neuroscience among other things, we can be fairly certain that most people, those who fall into the "norm" spectrum, perceive things very similar at a sense level.
Yes, I agree with that; their set of -individual- senses / qualia is very similar. I'm not sure I would so readily agree that compound or complex experiences (for example, the entire experience of a strawberry, smell + taste + feel + look.. +sound i guess; or visualizing a polyhedron) are comparable. I think it is like, we are programmers and each wrote our own Strawberry class (model of 'strawberryness').  Some of the properties are comparable, some properties exist in one model and not the other, some properties are mutually exclusive between models.
That (complex experiences) is the category in which I currently have put 'visualization'.

Edit: I would describe the process of visualising the sword in the same way. I could trace my eye around the edges of it but if I want to see the tip I cannot see the hilt. There's definitely a pretty low limit to how much I can visualise at once and to what fidelity I can imagine it.

Edit 2: I'd also add that probably our physical sense of sight is restricted in much the same way, you can see a whole room but you can only focus on one thing at a time.
That reminds me of an interesting resistance I noticed:
I can draw things below real scale or above real scale, with no real difference in the difficulty. But if I draw them significantly above scale, they creep me out. This remains true even when the picture is distanced from me to the point it appears 'correctly' scaled, and inanimate subject matter (eg. notepad, pencil) is -more- creepy than animate is.
Title: Re: Aphantasia - not having the "mind's eye"
Post by: ptoing on April 28, 2016, 01:56:10 pm
Regarding stuff like "strawberryness", of course the exact experience would differ from person to person.
But there is a strong argument to be made for mutual intelligibility. If I ask you to buy some yellow bell peppers from the supermarket you will likely not get me green or red ones, and I am pretty sure we would also agree that yellow and red bell peppers are sweeter than green ones. There is a pretty broad common baseline in perception, which arguably is needed to get anywhere as a species.
Title: Re: Aphantasia - not having the "mind's eye"
Post by: Ai on April 28, 2016, 02:54:04 pm
Regarding stuff like "strawberryness", of course the exact experience would differ from person to person.
But there is a strong argument to be made for mutual intelligibility. If I ask you to buy some yellow bell peppers from the supermarket you will likely not get me green or red ones, and I am pretty sure we would also agree that yellow and red bell peppers are sweeter than green ones. There is a pretty broad common baseline in perception, which arguably is needed to get anywhere as a species.
Sure. That level of communication is adequate in a general sense because we have concrete reference points for it -- even if we don't agree about what strawberryness is, we both can point at strawberries and agree that we each pointed at the "same type" of thing (ie. that the differences between our models are not that significant for simple practical purposes) . But we can't point to things happening inside our own mind, so the level of effect caused by any minute differences in what we're thinking about, is quite unknown. Think of all the misunderstandings around subjects like "love" and "spirituality"!

(as a general principle I would suggest that the more abstract the subject, the more common and massive in scale the misunderstandings are. And I would rank visualization at minimum 2 in terms of abstractness, since it is about some kind of simulation/emulation process.)
Title: Re: Aphantasia - not having the "mind's eye"
Post by: ptoing on April 28, 2016, 03:36:54 pm
I'd say I generally agree with that. "Spirituality" to me makes virtually no sense, what with so many different definitions, or how people use it, etc.

When it comes to visualisation (or just any kind of synthesis of senses in the mind) I think if someone tells me that they can imagine a song, and it is like actually hearing the song, or the same with a voice. Or being able to manifest some kind of image, more or less clear, I just have to take that at face value. Same as you would have to take me saying that I can not do any of that at face value too.

To get more clarity on this issue there needs to be more research done by proper neurologists and neuroscientists, who have the knowhow and the resources. If I could be part of some research where they hook me up to an EEG and ask me stuff, or get readouts while I do things like draw and the like, I'd be super up for that.
Title: Re: Aphantasia - not having the "mind's eye"
Post by: yrizoud on April 28, 2016, 04:04:28 pm
I'm very puzzled by this discussion. It sounds like people are expected to "visualize" graphically something that they are familiar with, but I thought only the rare people with a photographic memory could do that.
I mean, ask people to draw a bike, and you get this (http://www.gianlucagimini.it/prototypes/velocipedia.html). As far as I can tell, we can visualize fleeting images, but there is no precise, complete, 2D picture of the whole.
Example : You've all seen the oldschool Batman logo (Tim Burton movie era). Can you imagine it ? You see it ? Yes ? Now how many "dents" are there in the wings ? If you can't count them, you're not actually seeing them.
Title: Re: Aphantasia - not having the "mind's eye"
Post by: ptoing on April 28, 2016, 04:33:24 pm
Photographic memory is a different issue, and also has been largely disputed as actually being a thing.

The majority of people (Current estimations for people with aphantasia are 2-3%) can synthesise senses in their mind, to varying degrees. I am sure there are some people out there who can picture stuff in full 3D in front of their eyes and rotate them around. People like me for sure can not do that. I can not even see the oldschool Batman logo, no matter how hard I try. But that is something that I could draw reasonably well (just tried and got the head wrong), but I got the number of "dents" right, without seeing it. So it is possible to count stuff even if you can not see it.

What probably is going on is that the same information is stored in our brains (more or less), but the way we access it is different. How this exactly works without visualising no one really knows, and I can't describe it.
Title: Re: Aphantasia - not having the "mind's eye"
Post by: yrizoud on April 28, 2016, 05:51:14 pm
Thanks, it's clearer. It's seems there is indeed very varied levels of perception. I *can* somehow visualize souvenirs or on-demand things ("a yellow elephant"), but images are fleeting, very hard to focus and maintain for more than a split second. On the other hand, I can very easily represent sounds in my mind : Any familiar voice speaking any words with any intonation, or any instrument playing any melody. This is not very helpful because I have zero talent for actual music.
Title: Re: Aphantasia - not having the "mind's eye"
Post by: ptoing on April 28, 2016, 06:14:26 pm
So I would say that what we have gathered so far is that being able to synthesise stuff in your mind does not necessarily help with art. But it might. Who knows.
Title: Re: Aphantasia - not having the "mind's eye"
Post by: surt on April 28, 2016, 06:26:21 pm
I am sure there are some people out there who can picture stuff in full 3D in front of their eyes and rotate them around.
The only time I've ever been able to directly mentally visualize I could do exactly that. Was on the edge of sleep in an insomniac delirium. I figure a bit of dream state was leaking into my consciousness.

A simple construct like the Batman logo I can't directly visualize, it feels more like I'm receiving a list of stroke instructions, like I'm a logo turtle or a pen plotter. I guess much the same as writing out text.
Title: Re: Aphantasia - not having the "mind's eye"
Post by: ptoing on April 28, 2016, 06:33:39 pm
That is a good description in a way.

Also yeah, I once had what was probably sleep paralysis where I saw something that clearly was not really there. But that again, not the same as visualising, that's just dreaming while being conscious.

I wonder what kind of impact aphantasia has on being able to hallucinate. As in visual, auditory or other such hallucinations.
Title: Re: Aphantasia - not having the "mind's eye"
Post by: Ai on April 29, 2016, 12:12:19 am
That -is- a good description. In the case of that particular image, it is defined along two opposite edges simultaneously (Imagine a person wielding pencils in both hands and each hand is completing its half of the image). Since this is not true for many other images, I think this might reflect the order in which our brain is processing the different parts as we see them (which itself is probably tied to exactly where our vision is focused at any particular time)

For the 3d rotation exercise (which I can do, also with translation/movement) it feels like only one set of parallel lines are there, and to get the right position for the others, I need to actively decide to examine that axis now.

Yrizoud: Yeah .. I spotted the missing part of the bike, but it took some thought; I basically just went over possible joints for it to break at.
Title: Re: Aphantasia - not having the "mind's eye"
Post by: Seiseki on April 29, 2016, 09:59:27 am
This is a very interesting discussion.

Ptoing, if you're able to draw objects without seeing or visualizing them, to me it sounds like you're brain is still doing the work, it's just not showing it to you. Or are there other ways to draw things, other ways the brain store information other than visual, like muscle memory.

If you saw something completely abstract for a short duration and then had to draw it, would you be able to?
Title: Re: Aphantasia - not having the "mind's eye"
Post by: ptoing on April 29, 2016, 10:09:50 am
I honestly have no idea. Would have to try that sometime, though that would be somewhat difficult to set up alone.
Title: Re: Aphantasia - not having the "mind's eye"
Post by: yrizoud on April 29, 2016, 11:34:27 am
it sounds like you're brain is still doing the work, it's just not showing it to you.
I got the same impression. I don't think you could draw or write at all, if it was not the case.
Another experiment : Imagine a lowercase letter p. If it gets rotated 180, which lowercase letter is it. (Try do it when you don't have a lowercase "p" to look at)
Title: Re: Aphantasia - not having the "mind's eye"
Post by: ptoing on April 29, 2016, 12:15:27 pm
Yeah, I got no problems with things like that at all, I know what letters look like, and I am pretty good at spatial transformation kinda questions and such. So it is not a problem of being able to somehow process stuff in my mind, it's just that I do not see it.
Title: Re: Aphantasia - not having the "mind's eye"
Post by: Seiseki on April 29, 2016, 08:56:47 pm
I was actually thinking about spatial puzzles like that, it's intriguing how you're able to do them without seeing them.
If you couldn't it would probably be really hard to do everyday things.

When I think about the practical uses for being able to visualize things, I'm not entirely sure how much of it is conscious and how much is just done subconsciously.

Like if I played Tetris, I don't visualize how the pieces will fit once they fall down, I think.. Yet I still know it.
Or if I'm doing an actual puzzle, it's more like I instinctively know how they'll fit.
Title: Re: Aphantasia - not having the "mind's eye"
Post by: ptoing on April 29, 2016, 09:44:54 pm
Speaking of Tetris. Kan is this really amazing Japanese player. I met him at Stunfest in France in 2014, really nice guy. He did a bunch of live plays on stage. It was fucking amazing.

Here is a video, and timestamped at a relevant part.
https://youtu.be/_e8qGnfswso?t=24m37s (https://youtu.be/_e8qGnfswso?t=24m37s)

So as you can see in TGM3 at a certain point you get a credit roll and the blocks go invisible when they land. I wonder if he has really good visualisation skills where he basically visualises the fallen blocks, so he can see the playfield more or less how it would be if they were visible.
Title: Re: Aphantasia - not having the "mind's eye"
Post by: DatMuffinMan on April 30, 2016, 12:57:05 am
I just saw this conversation so probably a lot of this has nothing to do with the recent posts (I've only read the first 2-3 pages of posts. Sorry if my comments are not relevant lol.

As far as visualization goes, I can, like DB said, very clearly visualize something like a dino biting onto a building, ripping it off the ground, and going to town on something, tearing an entire city to shreds. I can imagine the gestures of the dino, the snarling and the growling and how it would shake its head fiercely as it demolishes whatever lies in its path. What has always been weird to me is that I can never translate these images into drawings. Perhaps it is my lack of knowledge of anatomy, or of how to draw things in general, mainly because I don't draw nearly as much as I should. But even simpler things that are beyond basic shapes, like a frog jumping off of a rock; I can imagine the elegant spring-y motion of the frog's legs as they extend and how the frog flies in a parabolic curve, eventually rotating midair slightly to land again. But if I try to animate something like this from memory, absolutely impossible.

I've gotten better at conveying poses and actions from my imagination lately, thanks to doodling for hours throughout school. But it's strange how clearly I can imagine a motion in my head without being able to draw it the same way.
Title: Re: Aphantasia - not having the "mind's eye"
Post by: Ai on April 30, 2016, 01:18:44 am
I think poses and actions are the correct way to go there (and ultimately more important for reaching a satisfactory result than anatomy or even construction skills). Personally I think that the clarity is deceptive -- that overlaying concepts rather than real visual content, is what is mainly happening, and so you can't draw it because what you really have is only a strong -impression-, and what you need is a step-by-step deconstruction.

Title: Re: Aphantasia - not having the "mind's eye"
Post by: DracoDragon42 on April 30, 2016, 01:20:46 am
I think its kind of weird, but for me it seems like I can imagine feelings better than I can imagine visual stuff. For example, I can imagine that I am falling, and I can feel like I'm falling, or I can imagine that I'm floating and it will feel like I actually am floating certain times. So, I wonder if different people are better with imagining different senses.
Title: Re: Aphantasia - not having the "mind's eye"
Post by: ptoing on April 30, 2016, 01:36:42 am
If I lie down, best on my back, and close my eyes, I can most of the times make my body feel like it is spinning or tilting. But I can only make this go up to a certain angle, like not feeling like I am doing a 360 on any axis, or even a 180. More like about 30 or so degrees in either direction. and mostly sideways, or better, rotation around the Y axis.
Title: Re: Aphantasia - not having the "mind's eye"
Post by: surt on May 02, 2016, 07:22:08 pm
Personally I think that the clarity is deceptive -- that overlaying concepts rather than real visual content, is what is mainly happening, and so you can't draw it because what you really have is only a strong -impression-, and what you need is a step-by-step deconstruction.
That's sounding more and more like my non-visual imagining.

I do wonder if maybe it's something to do with thought development. Typically when humans first learn to speak a language they begin to think with language. Maybe with a few of us the new thought mechanism completely replaces the old, while most others retain access to the old pre-lingual thought mechanisms.
Title: Re: Aphantasia - not having the "mind's eye"
Post by: Helm on May 03, 2016, 06:20:30 pm
Fascinating thread.

Personal experience, I can concentrate and catch glimpses of forms (even complex forms like human beings doing stuff) but they're fleeting. In my 20s I would sometimes train my visualization by focusing in the dark into capturing a simpler object (a brush or a phone) in the darkness, rotate it, assign color to it and the such. It's very difficult (for me) but possible. It helped me with drawing volumes more correctly.

Also sideways, I later realized this is a very basic step in many schools of magical practice. So if some of you feel different anxieties or light limbs or other internal effects happening during visualization, keep part of your mind out that you're doing something to yourself that isn't necessarily 'normal'. As with mediation, too much can lead to trouble.

Title: Re: Aphantasia - not having the "mind's eye"
Post by: Hagane on May 03, 2016, 10:33:02 pm
This is very interesting. If I had aphantasia I would have to radically alter the way I draw and design, as I always visualize things like designs and animations in my head before I get to a paper or pen. Very often when I travel to work I use that dead time to visually imagine designs, moves my characters could do and stuff like that. Imagining something I'm drawing and rotating it in my mind has helped me a lot to solve problems while drawing.

As someone else said, though, these imaginations aren't 100% accurate and many times what I imagined doesn't completely work in paper, but it helps me greatly to get most of it down, and I feel I have gotten better at mentally visualizing stuff as I got better at drawing. I can't imagine how I would draw otherwise. Hell, most of my thinking is done as a "mental voice", I reason things by mentally talking to myself, so to speak. I rarely think things abstractly.

And I can imagine sounds very vividly too; too vividly sometimes. I can "play" themes I like in my head as if I was just selecting an mp3 in my pc, but oftentimes I struggle to make them stop and they just keep "playing in the background" if I don't actively make an effort (which often involves thinking in something else, my head is rarely without sound) to do so. That's probably something I should get checked, ha.
Title: Re: Aphantasia - not having the "mind's eye"
Post by: Parkerbaby on May 07, 2016, 11:39:56 pm
This is really interesting to me. I actually thought I was rather deficient in the matter, mainly because I play chess and always hear about people "visualizing" the board, being able to work through variations in the mind as if it were a 2d diagram on a computer monitor.

My experience is much like Helm's. I picture vague bits here and there, they're hazy and hard to grasp. Some things are easier to picture, such as the sunset or birds or something. With those I could picture at the highest level, I'd say.

In chess, I've never been able to "see" a board mentally--whether it has pieces or not. I can instead kind of 'feel' where the pieces are in my mind and work through it with only hazy spatial definition of the pieces and no actual board pictured in my mind.
Title: Re: Aphantasia - not having the "mind's eye"
Post by: Ai on May 09, 2016, 06:39:51 am
On vacation, I did a bunch of geometry / axes study, as well as drawing topview of X while viewing sideview.
This seems to have improved my visualization clarity somewhat, evidenced by easier adlibbing especially with nonlinear axes. This is interesting because it really fits into my earlier 'deconstruction needed' guess : larger deconstructive vocabulary seems to lead to better visualization.

Ptoing's "I know how letters look" comment is interesting because I just thought about this and realized: I know how letters look, but I draw them entirely procedurally; Despite lots of experience with making typography, I do not visualize them before I draw, except in two respects:
1. How the -current- stroke looks (now / when completed), especially the divisions of space and angles it creates.
2. The overall space a letter should occupy (and the padding it should NOT occupy). This latter is a bit vague and greatly aided by dual-wielding (adding another pencil in left hand, that just maintains a physical location for the origin; tying my proprioception into my spatial sense perhaps.)

At the moment I'm most interested in determining a exercise that will make #2 less vague -- possibly something like visualizing negative space of a mildly complex layout of boxes, and blind drawing it, in 2d and 3d.

Personally I would not be surprised to find lettering is a special/nonstandard case, since it ties in so strongly to language. Do deaf -- especially totally deaf -- people have a different relationship to lettering, for example? More directly visual (ie. experiencing an actual graphic, more than a symbol), or less directly visual?