Neuroimaging Study to Shed Light on Mind Blindness

Summary: Researchers are planning to conduct a new neuroimaging study to investigate why some people are unable to create visual images in their imagination.

Source: University of New South Wales.

To determine why some people cannot create visual images of people, places and things in their mind’s eye, UNSW scientists are planning to conduct a world-first brain imaging study of people with this baffling condition, known as congenital aphantasia.

A team led by UNSW Associate Professor Joel Pearson has launched a crowd-funding campaign to raise money to carry out functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies to try and understand the neurological basis of mental imagery.

People with and without congential aphantasia – which has only recently been recognised as a new condition – will participate. The findings could also have implications for common mental disorders such as schizophrenia and Parkinson’s disease, which are associated with disturbed mental imagery.

“Close your eyes and imagine a green apple floating in front of you,” says Associate Professor Pearson, of the School of Psychology at UNSW Science.

“The small number of people who have aphantasia are often very surprised to discover that most other people can easily do this.

“They say they have no visual experience at all. No matter how hard they try, they cannot picture an apple, or any other familiar object in their mind’s eye.”

Mental imagery is involved in many everyday tasks, such as remembering the past, navigating, and recognising faces, as well as in psychological treatments such as cognitive behaviour therapy.

However, little is known about the number of people with aphantasia, nor how it affects their lives, positively or negatively.

Some researchers have suggested people with aphantasia may be able to create mental images, but their problem is one of introspection, which means they cannot describe the images.

Mental imagery is involved in many everyday tasks, such as remembering the past, navigating, and recognising faces, as well as in psychological treatments such as cognitive behaviour therapy. image is credited to the researchers.

A recent study by Associate Professor Pearson and his UNSW colleague Dr Rebecca Keogh, however, suggests this is not the case and that people with the condition have no visual imagery.

“Current theories propose that when we imagine something, we try to reactivate the same pattern of activity in our brain as when we saw the image before,” says Dr Keogh.

“The better we are at this, the better our visual imagery is. It may be that people with aphantasia are not able to activate these patterns enough to see mental images, or they may use a completely different network of brain activity to imagine.”

The proposed fMRI study will try to uncover any structural and functional differences in the brains of people with aphantasia.

“The research could help us enrich the inner lives of people with aphantasia, enhance the visual imagery of other people, as well as have an impact on a range of disorders and treatments,” says Associate Professor Pearson.

“This is the first step towards the possibility of giving aphantasics the experience of imagery.”

About this neuroscience research article

People who think they have aphantasia and are interested in participating in the research can contact the the laboratory at [email protected]. The project is being crowd-funded on the everyday hero platform.

Source: University of New South Wales
Publisher: Organized by
Image Source: image is credited to the researchers.
Video Source: Video credited to University of New South Wales.

Cite This Article

[cbtabs][cbtab title=”MLA”]University of New South Wales “Neuroimaging Study to Shed Light on Mind Blindness.” NeuroscienceNews. NeuroscienceNews, 22 June 2018.
<>.[/cbtab][cbtab title=”APA”]University of New South Wales (2018, June 22). Neuroimaging Study to Shed Light on Mind Blindness. NeuroscienceNews. Retrieved June 22, 2018 from[/cbtab][cbtab title=”Chicago”]University of New South Wales “Neuroimaging Study to Shed Light on Mind Blindness.” (accessed June 22, 2018).[/cbtab][/cbtabs]

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  1. Can these people remember dreams? Do they experience visual imagination or recollection without consciously attempting to visualize?

  2. (Пусть простят меня читатели). Существует (а «ОН» действительно есть! В это даже верить не надо) в нашем пространстве мудрый дедушка – «Всевышний», у него периодически возникают желания что – «сотворить». И «ОН» начинает «Творить». В космосе всегда присутствует Сознание Бесконечности, которое суть Волевой Аспект «Всевышнего» – Воля быть! Энергетический Поток «нулевой точки» Бесконечности, направляемый «желанием» Творца, устремляется в материю Ума, которая в космосе носит название «Сознание Абсолютной Пустоты», по пути захватывая часть её. Эта часть материи Ума, находящейся в состоянии покоя, приобретает характеристики «спинов» энергетического потока, сформированного Творцом. Этот поток энергии, выстраивает «рисунок» (сигнатуру) желания Творца. Вот так «Идея» приобретает «форму». «Сигнатура» – это «форма». Далее находится или создается («дорабатывается» имеющийся) «проводник» – тело человека в воплощении и с помощью «Знания» Величайшей Науки – Магии «Идея» «оседает» в материи сознания головного мозга, «проявляясь» как «Мысль», по принципу «каждому необходимое с Любовью» (кратко).

    Валерий Елистратов

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