Aphantasia is a brand new medical condition. It means that you cannot generate mental images. Being brand new, this condition has not been sufficiently scientifically tested and verified. Many of my colleagues are sceptical regarding existence of this condition. We do not know how serious it can be, what can cause it, and how often it happens.
If you have trouble generating mental images, that does not mean you have aphantasia. There are many small annoying technical reasons that may hinder visualisation. Maybe your visualization is not clear since you cannot focus, or maybe you have difficulty with certain kinds of visualizations, or maybe you visualize just fine and simply expect visualizations to be more vivid. If you do not have aphantasia, and most likely you do not have aphantasia, the training helps.
Now assume you do have aphantasia. Then you would not be able to do any of the visualizations below:
- Personal visualizations. Can you imagine the face of your mother or someone else you love? Can you imagine any of the movie scenes you have seen or any famous work of art?
- Physical visualizations. Can you imagine two objects in front of you interacting with each other in a strange way? For example, can you imagine breaking your computer screen with a mobile device?
- Logical visualizations. Can you imagine a simple graph or a flowchart? For example can you imagine humans and apes coming from some branch in origin of species, and lemurs coming from the same branch a bit earlier?
- Stereotypical visualizations. Can you imagine a stereotypical knight and monk drinking ale in a tavern?
- Stylized visualizations. Can you imagine the American flag, the Mercedes symbol, and coca-cola bottle?
These are just some examples of different visualizations. In fact, there are many more forms of visualization. A normal person can do ALL of them and simply uses the first one that comes to mind. In fact, if you can use ANY visualization form from the formats described above, you probably do not suffer from aphantasia – you are selective. In fact it is normal to prefer one form of visualization over all others.
Many people do not remember their dreams. Visualizations are just like dreams. Sometimes they are vivid, and sometimes they are subliminal. Occasionally people experience visualizations as actively as real hallucinations. In this case, we usually ask them to reduce focus and increase speed with which the visualizations are created. As you increase visualization speed, you do not stop to visualize but you might stop registering your visualizations in your consciousness. You should not be alarmed, this is totally normal.
It is very easy to substitute lack of practice or poor technique by an obscure medical condition. Do not do that. Even if you have true aphantasia, you can use this course: read this post I made a year ago. There is really no excuse to fail improving your memory and reading speed, except low motivation. It is exceptionally hard to stay motivated for long periods of time, therefore we are here to help you.