How the brain works is still a mystery to many successful scientists who work in this industry. Many people think that humanity knows much more about space and the construction of the universe than about their brains, and this hypothesis has the right to life. Today we want to talk about such a phenomenon as aphantasia – what is it? Is it a brain disease? How can it be detected and treated?
What Are Aphantasia And The Background?
The easiest way to understand what aphantasia is if you decipher this definition: “a” means “without,” “Phantasia” – “fantasy.” It means a phenomenon in which a person cannot create any images in his creation.
This phenomenon was first described by Francis Galton (a distant relative of Charles Darwin) in 1880. He surveyed his servants on what they ate this morning, and it turned out that not everyone could imagine it in their minds. When he showed his research to other scientists, they said that, at the moment, many other problems need to be solved. After which, Hamilton stopped his observations.
The world scientific community returned to studying this issue again only in the early 2000s. Professor Adam Zeman of the University of Exeter was approached by a man who lost his ability to imagine after surgery. A few years later, the professor published his research on this issue and was approached by several people with this feature. After that, Adam Zeman conducted a comprehensive study of this issue and introduced such a concept as aphantasia. He determined that this phenomenon can be congenital and acquired.
Zeman’s research has shown that aphantasia is not a disease. He conducted a complete diagnosis of the brain of people with this feature and concluded that this is not associated with any abnormalities. It turned out that the cerebral cortex responsible for such people’s imagination is less active when awake but activated during sleep. Thus, patients with aphantasia usually have more vivid and colorful dreams than ordinary people.
Although a global study has yet to be conducted, scientists who study this issue believe that about 2% of the world’s population has such an unusual feature.
How To Diagnose Aphantasia?
If you want to know if you have aphantasia, you don’t need to go to the hospital or do a brain scan, and you need to read a short text while sitting at home in a relaxed atmosphere. This text includes the following:
- Decide what subject you want to present. It can be something as simple as possible and familiar to you, for example, a red triangle.
- Sit in a quiet environment and close your eyes;
- Imagine the subject you choose in the first paragraph.
If you succeed, you do not have aphantasia, and this article needs to be written for you. But, if you didn’t manage to do this, try to pass the test again by changing the subject you want to present. If the test returns positive, you can be diagnosed with aphantasia.
Treatment For This Feature
Since aphantasia is not a disease, it does not need to be treated. A considerable number of people around the world live and do not realize that they have such a feature.
However, if you passed the test and it turned out that you have such an unusual feature, you can try to fix it. Unfortunately, there are no examples of when a person with congenital aphantasia could eliminate this feature. Still, there was a patient who learned to evoke images while falling asleep when the cerebral cortex needed to be activated.
You can practice a little if you are determined to eliminate aphantasia. If you devote half an hour a day to training, you will notice a good result.
The list of exercises may include the following:
- Reading books and trying to visualize them in your retribution as a movie;
- Walking in the fresh air in beautiful places and trying to visualize them before going to bed;
- Performing simple tasks from a school textbook to improve imagination;
- Drawing or another art form.
You can also use the memoryOS mobile app. It has many valuable workouts to improve memory and imagination. It has unusual 3D models and other tools to make your training more efficient and enjoyable.
Featured Image by 8photo on Freepik
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