Aphantasia is a phenomenon in which people are unable to visualize imagery. While most people are able to conjure an image of a scene or face in their minds, people with aphantasia cannot. If you were to ask a person with aphantasia to imagine something, they could likely describe the object, explain the concept, and say facts they know about the object. But that person would not be able to experience any sort of mental image to accompany this knowledge.

There is a website that is a network for people with aphantasia: https://aphantasia.com/

People see images with clarity on a continuum. Strong visualizers are described using the term “visualizer.” Weaker visualizers are described using the term “verbalizer” because they get verbal cues about images but poor or no images. A test for the ability to visualize images follows the videos below.

You can view videos of people describing their aphantasia below. In the first video, a woman with aphantasia gives a very clear explanation of aphantasia.

Test of Your Visualizing Style

This is a test of the clarity of visual images you see. People are on a continuum of abilities from very clear, vivid images to no images, aphantasia. Close your eyes and image a five-pointed star that is red. Then open your eyes and look at the chart that will appear when you click on the link. Identify which of the images you see on the chart is most like what you see. Most people are somewhere in the middle. If you see clear red star, you are a visualizer. If you see a vague black-and-white star, you have a style called a “verbalizer.” If you see nothing but blackness, you have aphantasia.

Click to see the chart.