Apantasy: understand the inability to imagine

 Apantasy: understand the inability to imagine

Lena Fisher

When closing their eyes, most people are able to imagine situations or recall memories, as if it were a movie. However, not everyone is able to perform simple actions like this, due to the fact that they have the fantasy.

What is apantasy?

Apantasy, basically, is the inability to mentally visualize images. Studies indicate that the problem affects about 2.5% of the world's population.

Thus, the difficulty in having mental images was first discovered in a article published in 1880 by Francis Galton, after observing people who had difficulty imagining.

Usually, people visualize places, experiences, people, scenes, objects, events, among many other things. But for those with the problem, this becomes impossible.

If you ask a person with aphasia to imagine something, they will probably describe the object, explain the concept, and tell you facts they know about it. However, they will not be able to experience any kind of mental image.

The problem, once known as "blind imagination," was named aphasia by cognitive and behavioral neurology professor Adam Zeman.

Read also: How sitting all day long harms the body


But experts believe that the origin is related to hereditary factors or traumatic events.

In addition, the onset of aphasia can result from functional alterations in specific regions of the brain, i.e., flaws in the brain's image processing.

How to identify aphantasy

You cannot diagnose aphasia by imaging tests, for example, but you can identify the problem by signs:

  • Think of a friend or relative. Then try to picture their face in your mind. How clearly can you see their features, face, hair, and shape?
  • How well can you imagine their characteristic movements and gestures?
  • How clearly can you picture this person's clothes?

If you have difficulty answering the above questions, it is likely that you have afantasy.


Very Well Mind; BBC

Lena Fisher

Lena Fisher is a wellness enthusiast, certified nutritionist, and author of the popular health and well-being blog. With over a decade of experience in the field of nutrition and health coaching, Lena has dedicated her career to helping people achieve their optimal health and live their best life possible. Her passion for wellness has led her to explore various approaches to achieving overall health, including diet, exercise, and mindfulness practices. Lena's blog is a culmination of her years of research, experience, and personal journey towards finding balance and well-being. Her mission is to inspire and empower others to make positive changes in their lives and embrace a healthy lifestyle. When she's not writing or coaching clients, you can find Lena practicing yoga, hiking the trails, or experimenting with new healthy recipes in the kitchen.