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Aphantasia is not a real condition


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Since early 2022, I've been seeing some articles that was about the alleged condition called ''Aphantasia'', They say it is a inability to form mental images, The condition is not real and I'll give you reasons that is not real:
1. It is not a recognized condition

2. It is not in the DSM-5 as a official condition and it doesn't say anywhere in the manual that there's a inability to form mental images.

3. It doesn't have a validated diagnosis, Most psychologists never heard of this condition before nor psychiatrists.

4. The term is coined in 2005 by a neurologist and has led to the internet being curious believing it's real.

Overall, It is not a real condition and the inability to form mental images isn't real, It's just that 100% of people form invisible images when awake since they don't actually see mental images since they don't see it with their actual eyes and seeing visible images in their dreams. It has since the stone age and in many centuries that people don't actually see mental images but form invisible images. I'm making this thread because some people believe it's a real condition when it's actually not, so it is not a real or recognized condition and it's not in the DSM-5.

Edited by ArtsyGirl
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58 minutes ago, ArtsyGirl said:

It is not in the DSM-5 as a official condition and it doesn't say anywhere in the manual that there's a inability to form mental images.

I’d think that all afflictions were identified before being officially recognized and listed in a manual.

Not recognized ≠ not real 

 

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2 hours ago, ArtsyGirl said:

Since early 2022, I've been seeing some articles that was about the alleged condition called ''Aphantasia'', They say it is a inability to form mental images, The condition is not real and I'll give you reasons that is not real:
1. It is not a recognized condition

2. It is not in the DSM-5 as a official condition and it doesn't say anywhere in the manual that there's a inability to form mental images.

3. It doesn't have a validated diagnosis, Most psychologists never heard of this condition before nor psychiatrists.

4. The term is coined in 2005 by a neurologist and has led to the internet being curious believing it's real.

Overall, It is not a real condition and the inability to form mental images isn't real, It's just that 100% of people form invisible images when awake since they don't actually see mental images since they don't see it with their actual eyes and seeing visible images in their dreams. It has since the stone age and in many centuries that people don't actually see mental images but form invisible images. I'm making this thread because some people believe it's a real condition when it's actually not, so it is not a real or recognized condition and it's not in the DSM-5.

I'm pretty sure your analysis is far to  simplistic.

Further the DSM5 is well recognised as following decades behind science progress. It is really more of a legal classification than a scientific one.

The simplest counterexample I can think of lies in a program I saw a couple of years before Covid about folks with unusual medical conditions.

Several patients had sensory cross wiring so they say tastes, heard colours, and so on.

Wierd but I have no reason to doubt the program producers.

 

As regards the balance between the different ways people think, I understand the most common is to think in words and sentences and actually subvocalise their thoughts.

Many of these have trouble visualising pictures  - and then you get the distinction between visualising still and moving images.

I tend to think in terms of concepts and pictures rather than words and sentences. I see the entire 'text' of the concept at once, not sequentially.

This give me trouble when I try to set things down in words. They just come tumbling out and I can't get them down fast enough.

How about your own experiences ?

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DSM is concerned with mental disorders.  This is usually defined as a condition that interferes with normal daily functioning.   Aphantasia has not been established as such a disorder, but is a documented deficit in an aspect of cognition.  There are other conditions - like synaesthesia - that are also not in DSM, for the same reason: there is a different sort of neurological activity but it hasn't been established as a disorder.  Indeed, many musicians have synaesthesia (my spouse and I both have a touch of it) and find it quite useful.  

Try a PubMed search on it, see what researchers are up to.

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2 hours ago, ArtsyGirl said:

I'm making this thread because some people believe it's a real condition when it's actually not, so it is not a real or recognized condition and it's not in the DSM-5.

Why does this upset you? People apparently experience something unusual that puts them at a disadvantage compared to people who don't experience it. When it's been sufficiently investigated and documented, it will be recognized as a condition - or not. That won't change the experience of the people who have it, but it won't go in the manual. If you are not one of those people, don't bother them, and they won't bother you.

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37 minutes ago, studiot said:

Several patients had sensory cross wiring so they say tastes, heard colours, and so on.

Weird but I have no reason to doubt the program producers.

Tone --> color synaesthesia is pretty common.  Overall, something like 4% of people have some synaesthesia.

I see certain hints of color in my mind's eye associated with certain keys.  When I'm sleepy and have eyes closed, certain sharp sounds will present themselves as both the sound and a thin streak of color, usually yellow or whitish, across part of my visual field.  Or sometimes a string of dots.  

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Well, I have this "unreal" condition. I can force myself to make a mental image of something, but normally I don't bother with mental images.

Texts and formulae are a different story. I see them on my "mental screen" all the time.

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I don't know if different kinds of perceptions should or can be classified as 'conditions' - though, of course, they are various conditions in which a mind happens to find to function - but they need to be recognized as real and valid variants. Synaesthesia has been recognized for some time, and eve if it were not, I would still experience colour associated with numbers, letters, sounds and even emotions.  

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12 hours ago, swansont said:

I’d think that all afflictions were identified before being officially recognized and listed in a manual.

Not recognized ≠ not real 

 

Not all afflictions were identified, There is no evidence.

10 hours ago, Peterkin said:

Why does this upset you? People apparently experience something unusual that puts them at a disadvantage compared to people who don't experience it. When it's been sufficiently investigated and documented, it will be recognized as a condition - or not. That won't change the experience of the people who have it, but it won't go in the manual. If you are not one of those people, don't bother them, and they won't bother you.

Because, It's not a real condition, and I'm just a little annoyed that people find this condition real when it's not.

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11 hours ago, Genady said:

Well, I have this "unreal" condition. I can force myself to make a mental image of something, but normally I don't bother with mental images.

Texts and formulae are a different story. I see them on my "mental screen" all the time.

I'm fluid with text as well, but I'm severely deaf. My mind's eye is critical to me as I mostly read peoples mouths and expressions, demeanour, then imagine what all that means and their intent.

Visualisation is function of certain interdependent aspects of our brain acting in concert, so if any of that isn't working properly, it is sensible that related abilities will be affected or absent.

Edited by StringJunky
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Posted (edited)
12 minutes ago, StringJunky said:

I'm fluid with text as well, but I'm severely deaf. My mind's eye is critical to me as I mostly read peoples mouths and expressions, demeanour, then imagine what all that means and their intent.

Visualisation is function of certain interdependent aspects of our brain acting in concert, so if any of that isn't working properly, it is sensible that related abilities will be affected or absent.

In countless of human brains, Most people form invisible images when awake and visible images in their dreams, Most commonly, though. The word ''imagine'' is a figure of speech that means to think of something. People form mental images in their brain and most commonly others don't see mental images, but forming invisible images. And no, Visualization isn't an function of certain interdependent aspects of our brain acting in concert, Most brains don't work like that.

Edited by ArtsyGirl
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Just now, ArtsyGirl said:

In countless of human brains, Most people form invisible images when awake and visible images in their dreams, Most commonly, though. the word ''imagine'' is a figure of speech that means to think of something.

I think the context was clear. One cannot universally assert what other people experience or don't. Your incredulity is not sufficient evidence to justify your position. Also, why must it be a 'condition' when it's just a different neural architecture in reality. The absence of said function may lead to other constructive abilities to evolve through necessity. Neuroplasticity is a thing

 

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Posted (edited)
13 minutes ago, StringJunky said:

I think the context was clear. One cannot universally assert what other people experience or don't. Your incredulity is not sufficient evidence to justify your position. Also, why must it be a 'condition' when it's just a different neural architecture in reality. The absence of said function may lead to other constructive abilities to evolve through necessity. Neuroplasticity is a thing

 

Of course Neuroplasticity is a thing, But I don't do that. My incredulity is sufficient enough, The condition is not real, Even though it's not established as a disorder, but the condition is not real, because it's not recognized and there's no evidence has found in the condition.

Edited by ArtsyGirl
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4 minutes ago, Genady said:

I suspect that the emphasis of OP is not on the word 'real' but rather on the word 'condition.' IOW, aphantasia is a phenomenon, but not a condition.

Well, I'll say it's not a real phenomenon, Since there is no evidence of it, A lot of people form invisible images is real, People having trouble forming mental images is real, but Aphantasia and the inability to form mental images is not real.

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4 minutes ago, ArtsyGirl said:

people form invisible images

1. What is an invisible image?

2. How do we, or them, know that they form invisible images?

PS. I assume that aphantasia refers to inability to form any kind of mental images, visible and invisible.

PPS. I know you cannot reply now because you've used up your five posts limit of the first day here.

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4 hours ago, ArtsyGirl said:

Because, It's not a real condition, and I'm just a little annoyed that people find this condition real when it's not.

And why does this annoy you? Being annoyed by things that have zero effect on your daily activities or experience is not a recognized condition, either, but it's a uncommon enough phenomenon that I recognize it. You have it.

Edited by Peterkin
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3 hours ago, ArtsyGirl said:

Well, I'll say it's not a real phenomenon, Since there is no evidence of it, A lot of people form invisible images is real, People having trouble forming mental images is real, but Aphantasia and the inability to form mental images is not real.

Given there are hundreds of papers that include study of persons with aphantasia and collection of data (again, PubMed will be helpful to you), your bold assertion is the one for which evidence is needed.  Here's one of many research papers....

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35691243/

Simply pounding the table won't get you far with people in the sciences.

 

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4 hours ago, ArtsyGirl said:

My incredulity is sufficient enough, The condition is not real,

!

Moderator Note

This is fallacious reasoning, and is incredibly difficult to deal with in a science discussion. Can you please do more than stick your fingers in your ears and talk louder? People are trying to engage with your premise and are having difficulty with your lack of supportive reasoning. 

 
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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, Genady said:

1. What is an invisible image?

2. How do we, or them, know that they form invisible images?

PS. I assume that aphantasia refers to inability to form any kind of mental images, visible and invisible.

PPS. I know you cannot reply now because you've used up your five posts limit of the first day here.

There's no inability to form invisible mental images, Invisible images is when 100% of people don't actually see mental images because they don't see it with their actual eyes. the word ''image'' and ''images'' in the brain means mental representation, but not visual representation in the mind,  so therefore, A lot of people form invisible images in their brain.

5 hours ago, TheVat said:

Given there are hundreds of papers that include study of persons with aphantasia and collection of data (again, PubMed will be helpful to you), your bold assertion is the one for which evidence is needed.  Here's one of many research papers....

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35691243/

Simply pounding the table won't get you far with people in the sciences.

 

There's a several papers but not hundreds of them, but there's still no evidence, so therefore the phenomenon is not real and I'm sorry if I'm pounding the table.

 

6 hours ago, Peterkin said:

And why does this annoy you? Being annoyed by things that have zero effect on your daily activities or experience is not a recognized condition, either, but it's a uncommon enough phenomenon that I recognize it. You have it.

I don't have aphantasia, I even If I don't see visible mental images, I don't have it and I don't how forming visible mental images work or look like, The phenomenon is not real. While a lot of people form invisible images when awake and only form mental images in dreams.  All people think in representations of things like me and people think in concepts like me and form invisible images without forming visible mental images like me. All brains are different whether they brains form visible mental images or invisible images without visualizing visible mental images, All people think, but  all people don't visualize visible mental images. All people don't think in words and sentences, They think in representations of things without forming visible mental images, concepts, but they don't visualize visible mental images, but they form invisible images when they don't see mental images.

 

5 hours ago, Phi for All said:
!

Moderator Note

This is fallacious reasoning, and is incredibly difficult to deal with in a science discussion. Can you please do more than stick your fingers in your ears and talk louder? People are trying to engage with your premise and are having difficulty with your lack of supportive reasoning. 

 

Sorry for fallacious reasoning, I'm ending this thread now because the phenomenon is not real and there's no validated diagnosis on it, there is no evidence of it, so it's not real nor recognized phenomenon. There will be no further replies on this.

Edited by ArtsyGirl
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39 minutes ago, ArtsyGirl said:

A lot of people form invisible images in their brain.

This is just poor word choice. Call them mental representations or visual constructs instead. The use of “invisible” and “image” here together given their mutually exclusive definitions will only lead to further confusion. 

41 minutes ago, ArtsyGirl said:

but there's still no evidence

Your threshold seems unreasonably high. What specific evidence would you need to see to change your mind on this?

42 minutes ago, ArtsyGirl said:

 The phenomenon is not real

Neither is the conclusion that you’re here arguing in good faith if you keep asserting this over and over again despite obvious refutation from others. 

44 minutes ago, ArtsyGirl said:

all people don't visualize visible mental images. All people don't think in words and sentences, They think in representations of things without forming visible mental images, concepts

Are you familiar with the hasty generalization fallacy?

45 minutes ago, ArtsyGirl said:

Sorry for fallacious reasoning, I'm ending this thread now because the phenomenon is not real and there's no validated diagnosis on it, there is no evidence of it, so it's not real nor recognized phenomenon.

It’s too bad you came here to preach and not to learn. 

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Posted (edited)
16 minutes ago, iNow said:

This is just poor word choice. Call them mental representations or visual constructs instead. The use of “invisible” and “image” here together given their mutually exclusive definitions will only lead to further confusion. 

Your threshold seems unreasonably high. What specific evidence would you need to see to change your mind on this?

Neither is the conclusion that you’re here arguing in good faith if you keep asserting this over and over again despite obvious refutation from others. 

Are you familiar with the hasty generalization fallacy?

It’s too bad you came here to preach and not to learn. 

I'm sorry about the poor word choice, I meant invisible images as in mental representations since they don't see mental images. ''mental representations'' is good word rather than ''visual constructs'' since it means something else. No I'm not familiar with the hasty generalization fallacy, I do learn in this forum and I'm not arguing. there's no evidence to this phenomenon since it's not real. Also,  how do you end a thread?

Edited by ArtsyGirl
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1 minute ago, ArtsyGirl said:

I'm not arguing

Arguing is fine, and even encouraged. It’s arguing in bad faith or merely digging in your heels when valid counterpoints are made which grows rapidly tiring. 

1 minute ago, ArtsyGirl said:

since it's not real

Like this ^

2 minutes ago, ArtsyGirl said:

how do you end a thread?

Stop posting to it. 

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Just now, iNow said:

Arguing is fine, and even encouraged. It’s arguing in bad faith or merely digging in your heels when valid counterpoints are made which grows rapidly tiring. 

Like this ^

No, I'm saying that the phenomenon doesn't exist. How do you end a thread?

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