This shows a woman.
Previous studies have shown that aphantasics are just as quick as other people to answer questions that require manipulating abstract concepts. Credit: Neuroscience News

Unlocking Aphantasia – The Mysterious Spectrum of Mind’s Visualization

Summary: Visualization abilities range from hyperphantasia, where individuals can create vivid mental images, to aphantasia, where people experience a complete absence of visual imagery.

A study assessed the link between perception and mental imagery in individuals across this spectrum. While aphantasics accurately perceive elements of reality and show no deficits in memory or language processing, they may have a slight defect in phenomenal consciousness, preventing the transformation of visual information into visual mental images.

This understanding paves the way for potential treatments for conditions like PTSD, characterized by intrusive mental imagery.

Key Facts:

  1. Aphantasics can describe objects and people they know but cannot mentally visualize them.
  2. People with aphantasia can perceive elements of reality and remember what they’ve seen, suggesting they might rely on non-visual cognitive strategies.
  3. The Paris Brain Institute’s study is a stepping stone to understanding and potentially treating visualization deficits and conditions like PTSD.

Source: Paris Brain Institute

The ability to visualize faces, objects, landscapes, or even scenes from the past exists on a spectrum. While some can picture the layout of a city in minute detail and mentally walk through it, street by street, others have a perfectly blank internal cinema. In this case, we speak of aphantasia—the inability to voluntarily produce the visual mental image corresponding to an idea.

Credit: Neuroscience News

People whose aphantasia is congenital—i.e., not due to a stroke, brain injury, or psychiatric illness—become aware of their peculiarity reasonably late in life. Indeed, this small deficit in visualization does not cause any handicap, and they have no reason to suspect they are atypical. Nor do they realize that at the other end of the spectrum are hyperphantasic individuals who can produce mental images as precise as illustrations in a book.

“Talking to these people is fascinating. We tend to think that access to visual perception, conceptualization, and memory is the same for everyone. Nothing could be further from the truth,” Paolo Bartolomeo, neurologist and researcher at Paris Brain Institute, says.

“Aphantasics cannot mentally picture what their parents, friends, or partner look like when they are away. But they can still describe the physical characteristics of their loved ones: this visual information has been stored, in one way or another”.

Visual mental imagery in question

There is currently a lively debate about the origin of aphantasia. Is it linked to a perceptual deficit? Emotional and psychological factors? A slight difficulty in accessing one’s sensations?

To answer this question, Paolo Bartolomeo and Jianghao Liu, a doctoral student in the “Neurophysiology and Functional Neuroimaging” team at Paris Brain Institute, recruited 117 volunteers—including 44 aphantasics, 31 hyperphantasics and 42 people with typical mental imagery—and gave them a mental imagery and visual perception test.

“Our test, called the Imagination Perception Battery (BIP), is designed to assess the link between perception and mental imagery through the different visual qualities that enable a scene to be described—such as shape, color, position in space, presence of words or faces”, Jianghao Liu explains.

Participants were asked to look at a blank screen. At the same time, an off-screen voice announced a visual quality (such as ‘shape’), followed by two words corresponding to concepts they had to materialize in their minds as accurately as possible (‘beaver’ and ‘fox’ for example). The voice also gave them a qualifier (such as ‘long’); then, the participants were asked to decide which of the beaver or fox best matched the epithet ‘long’.

The speed and relevance of responses were recorded, and the respondents were asked to assess the quality of the mental image they had—or had not—managed to produce from the description.

Finally, they had to take a perception test in which the stimuli were presented in a visual format: the long fox appeared in the form of an image accompanied by its audio description without the participants having to picture it.

When imagination takes its time

“Our results indicate that the performance of people with aphantasia is equivalent to other groups in terms of perception and the ability to associate a concept with its representation,” Liu comments.

“With one exception! Aphantasics are, on average, slower than hyperphantasics and typical imagers when it comes to processing visual information, particularly shapes and colors. They also have little confidence in the accuracy of their answers”.

Previous studies have shown that aphantasics are just as quick as other people to answer questions that require manipulating abstract concepts. Therefore, only the processing of visual information is delayed for them. How can this phenomenon be explained?

“Participants in the aphantasic group perceive elements of reality accurately and show no deficits in memory and language processing. We believe that they present a slight defect of what we call phenomenal consciousness.

“This means that they have access to information about shapes, colors, and spatial relationships—but that this visual information does not translate into a visual mental image in conscious experience”, Bartolomeo says.

“This peculiarity is probably compensated by other cognitive strategies, such as mental lists of visual characteristics, which allow aphantasics to remember everything they have seen.”

The future of perception

These preliminary results are limited by the data collection method, which consisted of an online questionnaire. However, they put us on a promising track to understand how visual mental imagery works. Future studies could reveal the neural mechanisms underlying these observations and, ultimately, help us to understand the visualization deficits specific to stroke patients.

“We also hope to develop interventional tools for certain psychiatric illnesses, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which is characterized by the eruption of images from traumatic memories. If we could rid patients of these intrusive mental images, it would greatly promote their recovery”, Liu concludes.

About this aphantasia and visual neuroscience research news

Author: Marie Simon
Source: Paris Brain Institute
Contact: Marie Simon – Paris Brain Institute
Image: The image is credited to Neuroscience News

Original Research: Open access.
Probing the unimaginable: The impact of aphantasia on distinct domains of visual mental imagery and visual perception” by Paolo Bartolomeo et al. Cortex


Probing the unimaginable: The impact of aphantasia on distinct domains of visual mental imagery and visual perception

Different individuals experience varying degrees of vividness in their visual mental images. The distribution of these variations across different imagery domains, such as object shape, color, written words, faces, and spatial relationships, remains unknown.

To address this issue, we conducted a study with 117 healthy participants who reported different levels of imagery vividness. Of these participants, 44 reported experiencing absent or nearly absent visual imagery, a condition known as “aphantasia”.

These individuals were compared to those with typical (N = 42) or unusually vivid (N = 31) imagery ability.

We used an online version of the French-language Battérie Imagination-Perception (eBIP), which consists of tasks tapping each of the above-mentioned domains, both in visual imagery and in visual perception. We recorded the accuracy and response times (RTs) of participants’ responses.

Aphantasic participants reached similar levels of accuracy on all tasks compared to the other groups (Bayesian repeated measures ANOVA, BF = .02). However, their RTs were slower in both imagery and perceptual tasks (BF = 266), and they had lower confidence in their responses on perceptual tasks (BF = 7.78e5).

A Bayesian regression analysis revealed that there was an inverse correlation between subjective vividness and RTs for the entire participant group: higher levels of vividness were associated with faster RTs.

The pattern was similar in all the explored domains. The findings suggest that individuals with congenital aphantasia experience a slowing in processing visual information in both imagery and perception, but the precision of their processing remains unaffected.

The observed performance pattern lends support to the hypotheses that congenital aphantasia is primarily a deficit of phenomenal consciousness, or that it employs alternative strategies other than visualization to access preserved visual information.

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  1. I am 63, and found out I had Aphantasia right after I turned 61.

    I have almost no mental images, only some weak images for some of my most vivid memories. When people talked about images in their heads, I always thought they were exaggerating or using figures of speech.

    I do have clear images when I dream, and I do have sound “images” in my head.

    It has been really illuminating to learn about Aphantasia and realize that I have it. It explains many of my personality traits, and I am convinced that my father had it, too, as he had the same traits.

    I have a very strong internal dialogue, and I think by talking myself through things using words, lists, and logic.

    I can only remember details about people’s faces, objects, or rooms if I consciously make an effort to “note” the details and memorize them. If I don’t do this, then I cannot tell you any details of a person even 5 minutes after meeting them unless something really stood out.

    My wife can “see” what a room will look like with different colours of walls, furniture or accessories. She can also remember, for example, the exact colour of our sofa and point to it in a colour sample card or pick matching colours that will go well with it. I cannot do any of these things.

    On the other hand, according to tests and the people I interact with, I am of above-average intelligence, and I am highly rational. I have also been highly functional throughout my life, doing exceedingly well at school in STEM subjects; I am fluent in three languages, I was an Air Force Pilot, and later a successful software engineer and director in a large consulting firm. So, I do not feel like it has impeded me.

    However, I am not very good with creativity and the arts, and I always have to try to remember things consciously, otherwise, I do not remember them. I have very few memories from before I was 12 years old, only the ones that were strong enough to “mark” me. I really enjoy photography as it gives me a way to express myself and gives me those visual memories I cannot conjure up in my head.

  2. I have Aphantasia and CPTSD. I never “see” images, such as flashbacks, I just “know” emotionally and internally, what happened to me in my childhood, as the scapegoat of a malignant narcissistic mother. I am also an HSP (highly sensitive person) and am very easily triggered in the present by past traumatic events, even though there may be no malevolence intended by the people in my life now. It is a hyper awareness that perpetuates the original traumatic events. One doesn’t have to have the capacity to visualize to experience PTSD.

  3. I read this article with pleasure. Each such message brings us another brick that goes towards creating a common understanding of the phenomenon. I was affected by the mention of traumatic brain injuries. At the age of 14, I received a strong blow in a dark room on the corner of a table between my left eye and nose. Now I suspect that this may be the cause of my aphantasia.

  4. I’ve been hyperphantsiac for as long as i can remember. I’ve also noticed i have much quicker reaction times then most people. I always think before i say anything, i never just blurt out whatever is the first thing that enters my mind. Sometimes i do but most of the time i am generally thoughtful of my responses towards others. I paint, make rugs, love film photography, i play guitar. Hyper emotionally sensitive.

    1. Interesting comment about your reaction times. I also have very quick reaction times, but I am also on the extreme opposite end of the visualization spectrum. I am incapable of seeing any mental image I try to visualize. I question whether reaction times are related to where a person places on the visualization spectrum, or indeed the other personality characteristics you mention. I like to paint and draw as well but I either need a model or a picture or I just let my imagination take hold. Being an aphantasic does not seem to have stopped me doing what I have wanted to do in either the artistic field or others.

    2. I’m 100% an aphant. AND, I’ve been teaching middle school way too long. So when I read “a long beaver”, I’m cracking up!

    3. My daughter I think is hyperphantsiac – she is amazing at Dobbel – the only thing that slows her a bit is the naming of the item (she also has dyslexia +). I am at the other end of the spectrum with no internal visual imagery, I cannot play Dobbel for toffee. The only way I can play is sequentially – look at one card, there is a spider, look at card two is there a spider? that’s a tree, a sun, a …. So no spider. Is there a tree…etc. My daughter says she just looks at it and immediately knows what the item is so is only slowed by converting the picture of what it is into words. Not sure if this is due to the visual imagery or something else but it is interesting. My daughter is also amazing at maths and seems to work it in parallel rather than my series – she just sees the answer. I cannot even hold the numbers in my head so have to write them down.

  5. Growing up, I was a budding artist and kept getting praised for my talent and ability to recreate what I see. High school classmates called me “The Xerox Machine” for being able to look at a picture and then paint it, etc.

    I never understood the praise. I just cast the image I’d seen on the page and then traced it. I superimposed whatever fantasy I wanted into reality. I wrote stories and would prefer this fantasy to reality, so sometimes I’d close my eyes and sit on an alien world and see what the plants and animals were like… then would write about it and draw what I saw there.

    Dreams continued to evolve until they were lucid, and I had full control and could wake up at will if I decided the dream didn’t have good logic.

    I got sick when I was 18, and I guess it did something to me. I remember being out from school for several weeks and working on a painting project and… for the first time, it was hard. I had to struggle through it. Oddly, I kept wanting to take breaks and write poetry. I’d never wanted to do that before, and past attempts were terrible and I hated them. But I found my sudden new use of words and symbolism profound.

    Years passed. Art remained hard. I no longer saw things on the page. I no longer had dreams. I was just “uninspired”, “must be writer’s block”. I still wanted to work on my stories. I still wrote scripts of conversations characters could have. I went heavily into programming instead of art and instead of an artist became a programmer for my career. 20+ years pass.

    Aphantasia eventually came to my attention. Of course I can visualize an apple — wait, I can’t. …Why can’t I? I used to visualize apples. When I was a teen, I did still life paintings, and — Oh.

    It was then I realize the illness had damaged something. I lost hyperphantasia and found myself with aphantasia. That’s why I don’t see things to trace on the page. That’s why I stopped drawing. There was nothing to draw, because I couldn’t create the image beforehand.

    Since then I’ve confronted the issue somewhat. I can dream again, rarely, and started to have pictures again. I can visualize, daydream, dream… But none of it is conscious. If I see something while I’m walking blissfully along I might start visualizing an image and refining it — and the second I become aware I’m doing this I lose access to the function. But I remember the picture.

    I recently read that emotions are stored in visual memories. I’m curious how that experience is for others with aphantasia — I used to have hyper-sensitive emotions and turned to having almost none at all.

    It’s all a learning experience, understanding what’s going on and trying to get back what I perceived I lost, because for me, it was crucial to how I wanted to live my life and the career I wanted to follow.

    1. Look to your liver. The liver regulates the whole central nervous system (meaning the brain), emotions are seated in the liver. A clear liver will give you better access to visualization, dreaming and more ease of emotions

  6. Aphantasia can have many causes, but I personally believe that in most people, it’s caused by the way they perceive/understand the world. Some people use images to make connection is memories; others use sound, while still others use smell.

    If you dont need your visual memory to picture things as your main mode of memory recall, you’re not using that muscle, so your ability to picture things diminishes.

  7. I was hoping the article would have tips to fix aphantasia. I cannot visualize anything. Guided meditations ask you to visualize a light or a meadow or a path or something and as hard as I have tried, I can’t. Getting visual images of family members….not happening. It is very frustrating and I couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t do what everyone around me can do! Dreaming? Lucid dreaming? Yep, lucid dreams don’t happen. Non lucid dreams….very rarely happen and I can’t recall the dream, just the feeling it leaves me with. I wish with all my heart that I was not aphantasic.

  8. I can remember everywhere I have been. I can’t remember what everywhere looks like.
    I can use my words and describe it. I can’t see it in my mind. Blue, green, purple, yellow, orange, black, white, are the colors I can see.
    I have had optic neuritis and was not able to see red and any color associated with red. Which are all cookies except for black and white.
    My therapy was to stare at a something I knew was red. I used a pack of Marlboro red cigarette box.
    I could describe everything. I couldn’t see everything.

  9. I am I am blessed with aphantasia. But I have a question how come my dreams every night are so vivid so clear so in color and just amazing yet I’m an aphant

  10. Hi
    This was a fascinating article. I have never been diagnosed as on the spectrum. But with that being said I myself can visualize clearly things in mental images. If I was to want to redesign my kitchen I can mentally see every thing I want done to it. I can mentally see anyone I know and things. I have vivid and realistic dreams at night and most often recall them. I also close my eyes at rest and mental images of things I may have thought about will be there. I the other hand, my husband can not visualize anything. It often causes issues because I see what I want before

  11. I seem to have almost but not quite aphantasia. I can see more when I’m dreaming but when I’m awake I only can only very very vaguely picture things and people. It’s a very fuzzy image without alot of detail. It is very frustrating.

  12. I’m curious. Although it’s mentioned more than once that the aphantasic doesn’t have any deficit in language processing, I do wonder if there are differences between the hyper-aphantasic, aphantasic and normal when it comes to communicating their responses, if the diction used by one is more descriptive versus more clear and concise.

  13. I also have PTSD and Aphantasia and i never have any visual images, voluntary or non. My “flashbacks” are more of a Central Nervous System hyper-awareness. It is extremely difficult to process and work through because resetting the Central Nervous System is the only way through it and most of the time i experience flashbacks and hyper-awareness is in the shower; vulnerable, which is also what it takes to reset it; a cold shower 🤷 frustrating!

  14. I have aphantasia. We still experience PTSD, just without the visual component. The issue with that is the feelings come on and it’s not always apparent to what is happening or what cued it. It’s usually words or an actual image and so.etimes it’s very subtle. While not having the visual component might be less terrifying, not having it can be confusing if the memory doesn’t come through right away.

  15. It’s interesting that others are commenting who have ptsd and aphantasia at varying degrees. I’ll leave my comment simple, I think our scientific understanding of the average human psychology is absolutely stone age still.


    Well myself I also have aphantasia but not dull. Quick summary is that my minds eye can vary between UML diagrams to distant black and white TV. I myself also have childhood ptsd. My triggers are usually based on abstract things like types of exchanges I may have with someone. Theres no sound nor visual triggers. If I had visual triggers then I’d understand the point of the article.

    Side note since others are talking about recollection. I have face blindness when comparing faces that aren’t within my view. Yet I do store the info as I do have a list of said info and can get emotional reactions when seeing someone that is similar to someone I’ve seen. I have vivid dreams and can remember faces in my dreams.

    My theory of my state? My minds eye itself is mainly in my subconscious and has loose connection to my conscious mind.

  16. I’ve only recently learned about this, and it helps explain my experience, especially understanding that aphantasia is about voluntary images.

    Sometimes I get vivid images that come to me randomly in dreams or meditation. But when asked to “visualize” something as part of any visualization technique or hypnotherapy, I can’t do it. I can’t create a picture in my mind even of people or places I know very well.

    I’m curious how this impacts things like “visualize yourself accomplishing something.” Because I just seem to lack that ability.

    Eager to learn more.

  17. So my question would be, is what does the difference look like when asked to draw something from memory. Obviously would work better with subjects that are artistic.

    1. Hi
      This was a fascinating article. I have never been diagnosed as on the spectrum. But with that being said I myself can visualize clearly things in mental images. If I was to want to redesign my kitchen I can mentally see every thing I want done to it. I can mentally see anyone I know and things. I have vivid and realistic dreams at night and most often recall them. I also close my eyes at rest and mental images of things I may have thought about will be there. I the other hand, my husband can not visualize anything. It often causes issues because I see what I want before

    2. I took my first drawing class when I was in college. I had no real intention of using drawing or visual artistry for anything other than graphical blazement before that. To do things visually meant getting something onto the paper, or canvas or into the space in 3D as with clay, wood, or eventually digital point clouds with associated lines and surfaces. In my minds eye is is dark. but I can feel the tiger I am told to imagine, and because I am an animator I can feel and sense where it is and there is a running database and color lookup table associated with ever square mm of the thing. I did not know until 5 years ago that other people could see things by closing their eyes and imagining them. I am celebrating 30 years as a professional art, animation, design and storytelling person. If I had known that people really could do this and that it was not just a metaphor…. that visualize meant an internal process, things might have been different. It does point to how human beings might be a little more empathetic…. because this seems to have been a backwater subject until the era of social media. To really answer your question… you have and idea and you start describing it or illustrating it in sketches and it becomes more about bringing the visual to match the feeling and the description. It has been very helpful for me as a writer/designer/art-film-animation director because I have had to use words to communicate things that are visual and kinesthetic to a greater detail internally. On the way there… It was an unholy *****! Hope this helps.

  18. I have aphantasia. I always describe it to people without it by saying I have a memory of what people look like I just can’t visualize them in my mind. I’m also very very good at remembering faces… for example, recognizing super random actors in super random roles. It always blows my husband away when I do that. I didn’t even know I had it until my late 50s. It was quite the shock when I realized people see actual images in their minds. It felt like a form of blindness.

    1. But what can you visualize? I mean, of course you cannot imagine imagery, but what about sounds or ideas, or feeling abstract concepts? Anything would be interesting

    2. Me too. You sound like me. I was shocked when I found out my wife can literally see images (in her head) when she closed her eyes. I even asked her how she can tell the difference between reality and imaginary, in my initial moments of disbelief. I was 54 when I discovered I was the weird one.

    3. I felt the same way a few months ago when I learned that most other people can truly visualize images in their mind — it was a huge shock to me.

      I just assumed daydreaming was getting lost in thought and not actually seeing images in your minds eye.

      And like you, I never forget a face. If I see a face one time, I always remember it.

      Unless it was a child and now it’s 30 years later, then maybe not.

      Remembering names is a completely different story though — I’m absolutely horrible at remembering names! 😆

  19. Does it comes as a general rule that logic is slower than phantasy. Phantasy is-book pictured.

  20. Much like the person commenting before me, I also have PTSD and aphantasia.
    I actually have very intense mental images and frequently, but absolutely zero control over them. ( I am not referring to PTSD flashbacks)

    {I understand that this is a university study, So for the sake of being respectful to your professions and field I will not. Go into too much deep specifics or be Insistent/ rude, People are gonna say I’m stupid crazy. Or I believe in pseudscientific nonsense. Please just try to be open minded and listen}

    From a very young age, Literally as long as I can remember, I get very vivid Scenes every time I close my eyes, Or blackness with symbols and image popping out at random. Symbols that I don’t “Know” and images of things I “haven’t seen “.
    In the past two years I have written down or drawn some of these symbols , And then look into them. ( Online and in books of symbols) And all of them are real ones. I’ve never made up a symbol that didn’t turn out to exist And mean something. Can somebody please hook me up to a machine And tell me what’s going on with my brain? Sometimes I don’t even Necessarily see the symbols, I just space out Or go into a trance like state. Maybe some form of self hypnosis. And well in that state I will draw or write something. I’ve looked into this phenomena it’s known as automatic writing/drawing. Some scientific people might try to say that it’s the subconscious communicating directly to you, Some spiritual people might say that you’re channeling something . Make of it what you will..
    All I know is I very much want to Be a part of some study, Cut me up and hook me to a machine. Monitor me 247, Whatever is necessary. I need to know how my mind works and why, and I feel like the world probably should know too.

    1. I actually had the same ability and experiences up until my mid to late twenties. I , too, wrote or drew in a journal the things I pictured. Feeling strongly I hadn’t ever seen or even heard about any mental images I had. I lost most of the ability after a CNS infection that lasted months. I was describing this ability to a friend once and she had said that she’s read about evidence that our ancestors experiences , illnesses, and memories can actually be stored in our DNA and if we have a very developed visual recall to start with, our ” DNA Memory” may be very vivid images.

    2. This is crazy interesting and cool what did the symbols mean? Any specific language ? I have seen random symbols but on dmt the hallucinogen. Maybe you’re just accessing your third eye 🫨

      1. Mostly they have been only purely symbols, (like the ahnk or the ‘square and compass’ just as examples) although I have also drawn a few things that turned out to be planetary glyphs, sigils and even seals. Sometimes when I re read my notebooks of automatic- poetry, it blows my mind. Almost nonsensical rambling like tongues or something.. here is an excerpt from one.
        -“a new knock, a key he provided, but ea decided to hide it in plain sight”

  21. The researchers assert “ Aphantasics cannot mentally picture what their parents, friends, or partner look like when they are away. But they can still describe the physical characteristics of their loved ones: this visual information has been stored, in one way or another”.

    I am aphantastic, and cannot form a mental picture of my partner. I cannot describe from memory any of her physical characteristics that I have not specifically categorized, such as: she has brown hair, or her eyes are large. When asked a question about her appearance, unless I have previously thought of that characteristic, it is lost to me. In essence, I remember only the commentary I have made to myself about her appearance. I disagree with the authors’ assertion that the visual information is stored, and believe their experimental design to be inadequate for that reason.

    1. I, too, have limited recall of my loved ones. But have total recognition, as I’m sure you do. So the information is being stored, but we just can’t access it at will. So interesting.

    2. I am also aphantasic. I only found out recently that mental images exist for some people, but I have been aware for a long time that I describe people predominantly on their hair colour, and when asked to give more details on what someone looks like I struggle.

    3. I understand. I tell people my memory is like reading a description of my visualizations from a book. There is absolutely no images at all, either while I am awake or while I am asleep. I have zero images when my eyes are closed… just pure blackness.

    4. I am exactly the same way! I have always felt awful about not being able to describe a loved one, but I don’t know that I could even describe my own face to someone if needed. But I can certainly recognize a familiar face, just not picture or describe it unless there’s a feature that I’ve made a conscious effort to memorize/recall.

  22. Where is the love, focus for hyper phantasics? Seems like both extremes need study.

    And, can we simplify our language
    – to take “hyper” out of it. Pls.

    That nomenclature has a bad connotation.

    We are simply phantasic!

    : )

    1. I’m just like that too. I have to know the answer, or else I won’t be able to find it. My head is like a gigantic filing cabinet. And every thing is sorted by cue words and conversations related to the subject.

    2. Only in your head. There is no bad connotation with hyper. It simply means in excess from the average. So no, we can’t take it out because it is categorizing 3 sets of individuals, those with no mental visualization, those with average visualization, and those with above average (more detailed) visualization.

  23. It is not necessarily a valid conclusion that ridding people with PTSD of their visual imagery intrusions would greatly enhance their recovery. I say this as someone with complete aphantasia and with severe PTSD. I occasionally experience intrusive image-based flashbacks (they are not voluntary images…aphantasia affects voluntary imagery). While disturbing those intrusive images have been critical for processing the memories and resolving them and the symptoms. The absence of images while still experiencing the other forms of memory in a flashback (emotions, physical sensations, sometimes intrusive smells) leaves a person badly shaken but with almost no information to make sense of what is happening.

    Images are not the only part of ptsd and eliminating images does not eliminate the symptoms. It makes diagnosis and healing more complicated and delayed though. Many people with aphantasia also still have images in their dreams and so nightmares are also still an issue.

    Maybe learning how to shut down images voluntarily and willfully would help improve SOME symptoms but many researchers seem to falsely believe aphantasia is protective against PTSD. It is not.

    1. I completely agree. PTSD can only be healed by completely accepting and integrating the traumatic experience as a part of you, as difficult as that might be, blocking it doesn’t work.

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