Aphantasia reveals itself to your students

Some people are unable to create mental images: this is called aphantasia. This condition, which is still very little known, even affects between 2 and 5% of the population. Impossible to see apart from patients ’experience to date, it is actually visible to the naked eye according to a study!

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This may be related to the impossibility of creating mental images, immediately or in memories, or even the difficulty of reproducing mental sounds. L ‘aphantasia, as yet unknown, affects up to 5% of the population. Introduced in 2015, the term comes from the Greek “a”, which signifies poverty, and “phantasy”, which refers to thoughts. Among the people affected, some may partially recreate images, others imagine them in their dreams … some studies have been done on the subject, especially in its analysis. neurological diseases. At present, diagnosis is in fact based on self-diagnosis: people affected by themselves understand that they are incapable of creating. mental images.

In a study published in the journal eLifethe researchers focused on identifying this condition through eye. Or more specifically, to students. This, if they automatically react to the differences LIGHTcan also be expanded or contracted depending on the mental tasks performed.

The greater your imaginative capacity, the broader your students will expand.

For their experiment, they tested two groups of people: a control group and a group with self -reported people with aphantasia. Each group first observed images with light and dark shapes on a gray background, and was then asked to think about them, to see them again in the mind. During the first step, the students all participants varied in size according to LIGHT shown pictures. But when the group asked people to imagine these same images, they saw a real difference between the two groups: where students of controlled individuals were constantly holding and stretching, individuals with aphantasia. nothing different.

“Imagining four things at once is more difficult than imagining just one. Pupils of people with aphantasia expand when they imagine four forms versus one, but do not change depending on whether the forms are light or dark, ” they said. “Our results provide new evidence that our students respond to the clarity and robustness of a visual image put in mind, the stronger and clearer the image, the more the response to pupillary light is great. ” Their findings make it possible to test whether the person suffers from aphantasia, and this from an early age. For if aphantasia does not prevent them from leading a normal life, the affected individuals will express that they feel different from others.

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