AuthorTopic: Aphantasia - not having the "mind's eye"  (Read 16701 times)

Offline Ai

  • 0100
  • ***
  • Posts: 1057
  • Karma: +2/-0
  • finti
    • http://pixeljoint.com/pixels/profile.asp?id=1996
    • finticemo
    • View Profile

Re: Aphantasia - not having the "mind's eye"

Reply #10 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?
« Last Edit: April 27, 2016, 11:15:20 am by Ai »
If you insist on being pessimistic about your own abilities, consider also being pessimistic about the accuracy of that pessimistic judgement.

Offline ptoing

  • 0101
  • ****
  • Posts: 3063
  • Karma: +0/-0
  • variegated quadrangle arranger
    • the_ptoing
    • http://pixeljoint.com/p/2191.htm
    • View Profile
    • Perpetually inactive website

Re: Aphantasia - not having the "mind's eye"

Reply #11 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.
There are no ugly colours, only ugly combinations of colours.

Offline tsej

  • 0001
  • *
  • Posts: 77
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
    • Art and Code

Re: Aphantasia - not having the "mind's eye"

Reply #12 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.
Correct me if I'm wrong

Offline ptoing

  • 0101
  • ****
  • Posts: 3063
  • Karma: +0/-0
  • variegated quadrangle arranger
    • the_ptoing
    • http://pixeljoint.com/p/2191.htm
    • View Profile
    • Perpetually inactive website

Re: Aphantasia - not having the "mind's eye"

Reply #13 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:



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.
« Last Edit: April 27, 2016, 11:58:41 am by ptoing »
There are no ugly colours, only ugly combinations of colours.

Offline 0xDB

  • 0011
  • **
  • Posts: 873
  • Karma: +0/-0
  • Dennis inter-is.
    • dennisbusch_de
    • http://pixeljoint.com/p/1287.htm
    • 0xdb
    • View Profile
    • 0xDB

Re: Aphantasia - not having the "mind's eye"

Reply #14 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"?

Offline ptoing

  • 0101
  • ****
  • Posts: 3063
  • Karma: +0/-0
  • variegated quadrangle arranger
    • the_ptoing
    • http://pixeljoint.com/p/2191.htm
    • View Profile
    • Perpetually inactive website

Re: Aphantasia - not having the "mind's eye"

Reply #15 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.
There are no ugly colours, only ugly combinations of colours.

Offline surt

  • 0011
  • **
  • Posts: 570
  • Karma: +0/-0
  • Meat by-product
    • not_surt
    • http://pixeljoint.com/p/2254.htm
    • View Profile
    • Uninhabitant

Re: Aphantasia - not having the "mind's eye"

Reply #16 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)?

Offline 0xDB

  • 0011
  • **
  • Posts: 873
  • Karma: +0/-0
  • Dennis inter-is.
    • dennisbusch_de
    • http://pixeljoint.com/p/1287.htm
    • 0xdb
    • View Profile
    • 0xDB

Re: Aphantasia - not having the "mind's eye"

Reply #17 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.

Offline DracoDragon42

  • 0001
  • *
  • Posts: 82
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • @DracoDragon42
    • View Profile

Re: Aphantasia - not having the "mind's eye"

Reply #18 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.

Offline Ai

  • 0100
  • ***
  • Posts: 1057
  • Karma: +2/-0
  • finti
    • http://pixeljoint.com/pixels/profile.asp?id=1996
    • finticemo
    • View Profile

Re: Aphantasia - not having the "mind's eye"

Reply #19 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.
« Last Edit: April 28, 2016, 12:50:12 am by Ai »
If you insist on being pessimistic about your own abilities, consider also being pessimistic about the accuracy of that pessimistic judgement.