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Author Topic: Where are you on the phantasia spectrum?  (Read 2869 times)

Iris

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Re: Where are you on the phantasia spectrum?
« Reply #15 on: March 05, 2020, 12:53:11 pm »
What a fascinating post!

I also consider myself higher on the spectrum - visualization work has arisen easily for me, often spontaneously and easily, even when I have never seen the object/image/scene described. Other sense awarenesses also kick in - sounds, smells, emotions, related memories - but visualization itself has always been easy, and it's made it hard to relate to people who don't find it easy.

For people who have had trouble, I've referred to books like Ophiel's "Art and Practice of Astral Projection", worked more with real print images and either reproducing/colouring them by hand or verbally describing them bottom-up in detailed words, and then recalling the image from memory, discussing reactions/feelings. I work in a tradition that works heavily with visualization, so having difficulty here has made people feel like they're missing out, and also left me wishing i had a better substitute tool to offer them or than "trust it's happening, even if you don't see it."

I've tried that game where you uncover a platter of objects, an recover it after 30 seconds, and then test people to see what they remember seeing.

I don't know if these techniques have helped - I tried them in the context of someone who asked to learn from me, and we stopped continuing our work for other reasons.

I'm also curious about how people lower on the phantasia spectrum experience dreams; And about the relationship between phantasia spectrum, memory accuracy, and also incidents of false memory (which is discussed academically, but I'm not so sure if such a thing can ever really be proven.)

Aisling

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Re: Where are you on the phantasia spectrum?
« Reply #16 on: March 05, 2020, 06:56:05 pm »
What a fascinating post!

Hi Iris,

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KitteeKae

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Re: Where are you on the phantasia spectrum?
« Reply #17 on: April 08, 2021, 03:49:24 am »
You may think I'm making a funny from the title, but I'm actually not.

I just learned about the phenomenon of aphantasia, which is lack of a mind's eye/inability to conjure mental images.

My partner actually has pretty much total aphantasia, and it's been super interesting talking about it with them. They seem to have very much a word-based memory and imagination, and also can't recognize faces very well (known as prosopagnosia), and when they imagine things in a sensory way it's mostly based on a kind of combined spatial/kinetic sense that seems to be a form of synesthesia.

It's so interesting to me because my visual memory and imagination have always been extremely clear: I can easily and quickly imagine things in my mind's eye and know what they'd look like pretty precisely, rotate or move them in natural or unnatural ways, change qualities or aspects they possess, I would imagine telekinetically moving objects for fun when I was a kid, I can fairly accurately imagine most aspects of a literary scene (clear description in words makes it even easier, otherwise I end up with low-detail placeholder textures and objects in the background). But the kinetic sense that comes first for my partner is something I have to consciously focus on in order to build things with. I can do it, but it's not what comes naturally to me. So it does seem more like a difference in the way things work rather than overall ability.

Stranger Things

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Re: Where are you on the phantasia spectrum?
« Reply #18 on: April 08, 2021, 02:20:57 pm »
My partner actually has pretty much total aphantasia, and it's been super interesting talking about it with them. They seem to have very much a word-based memory and imagination, and also can't recognize faces very well (known as prosopagnosia), and when they imagine things in a sensory way it's mostly based on a kind of combined spatial/kinetic sense that seems to be a form of synesthesia.

I'm so visual I can't retain anything I haven't seen, including names, means I need names written down to remember them. Anything I hear, I have vivid images in my mind to put it all together. I would be totally lost blind.Anytime my eyes act up and I can't see well, I panic.

But I am also faceblind. I have certain forms of synesthesia. I never know where my body is in space and mostly need to look at my feet to be able to walk, which makes walking just to enjoy nature a bit of a challenge.

PerditaPickle

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Re: Where are you on the phantasia spectrum?
« Reply #19 on: April 08, 2021, 03:01:12 pm »
need to look at my feet to be able to walk, which makes walking just to enjoy nature a bit of a challenge.

Oh I experience that occasionally, usually when I'm tired &/or stressed -- yes, that would make walking to enjoy nature challenging.  My sympathies.
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muis

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Re: Where are you on the phantasia spectrum?
« Reply #20 on: Yesterday at 06:32:05 am »

So I wondered, where is everyone on the phantasia spectrum, or do we have any aphantasics (if you're comfortable sharing)?


I always could easily visualize items or stories people told me. It is more difficult to do it on command, as in some guides meditation I sometimes do. I just can make an image or I just get sidetracked by my own mind thinking about other things and therefore visualizing these things instead of the things I wanted to visualize.
When I do a normal meditation, the images just show up and it is easier for me to hold on to them.
I often dream lucid and mostly can remember my dreams.

Is this phantasia spectrum the same as conceptual thinking?

Sophia C

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Re: Where are you on the phantasia spectrum?
« Reply #21 on: Yesterday at 10:30:47 am »
I'm so visual I can't retain anything I haven't seen, including names, means I need names written down to remember them. Anything I hear, I have vivid images in my mind to put it all together. I would be totally lost blind.Anytime my eyes act up and I can't see well, I panic.

But I am also faceblind. I have certain forms of synesthesia. I never know where my body is in space and mostly need to look at my feet to be able to walk, which makes walking just to enjoy nature a bit of a challenge.

Ooh, this is interestingly close to my experience. I'm both really visual and not. I don't have an inner monologue - I sort of have visual and emotional thoughts (the 'translation' process for others can be fun...) And I remember things much better if I've seen them.

But I can only visualise things I've actually seen. Very rarely, mostly in meditations with visualisation, I've 'created' entirely new things or places in my head. Otherwise, everything I imagine is based on things I've seen in reality. My inner sacred grove* is based on a real grove in a place I know quite well. If you tell me to imagine a luxury yacht, I can only conjure up one I've seen on TV.

I'm also not visually creative, and I'm not great with the visual language of TV and film - I tend to focus more on the story. I prefer podcasts to TV to relax - video takes more concentration.

I suspect part of this is that I'm dyspraxic (also called Developmental Coordination Disorder). It affects my spatial awareness, and I think my visual processing too. If you showed me the front of an object, I couldn't turn it around in my mind. I'm also somewhat faceblind.

It's no bother to me in spiritual terms, though. I'm used to setting meditations in places I've been, not caring if parts of a visualisation are barely visible, and listening more to what I 'hear'. I could not tell you what my deity looks like beyond clothes and whether she's appearing as old/young today, but I don't get the sense she minds too much.

I love the earlier idea of valuing the diversity of all the ways we process things. Sometimes I've done guided meditations and the goal seemed to be to visualise something that I just could not. Teachers who give me another way to approach the task, e.g. to develop my inner listening skills instead, are my favourites. In the same vein, in a Druid grove I used to belong to, someone would always demonstrate sunwise for me with emphatic pointing, so I didn't start walking the wrong way around. It was an awfully ceremonial grove, but they didn't mind my coordination weirdness.

*An OBOD thing - I'm sure there are parallels in other practices but that's the one I know.
"We're all stories, in the end. Make it a good one, eh?"
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PerditaPickle

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Re: Where are you on the phantasia spectrum?
« Reply #22 on: Yesterday at 01:27:57 pm »
Is this phantasia spectrum the same as conceptual thinking?

I'm really not sure, unfortunately.

In the same vein, in a Druid grove I used to belong to, someone would always demonstrate sunwise for me with emphatic pointing, so I didn't start walking the wrong way around. It was an awfully ceremonial grove, but they didn't mind my coordination weirdness.

That's really helpful, I'd benefit from that it I were participating in any such thing.

*An OBOD thing

Do you sometimes listen to the Monday evening Tea With A Druid livestream on YouTube?  I try to listen in most weeks lately, even if I don't actively participate in the meditation portion.
“Radiate boundless love towards the entire world — above, below, and across — unhindered, without ill will, without enmity.” – The Buddha
(From the Metta Sutta)

My Portrait of Perpetual Perplexity blog

PerditaPickle

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Re: Where are you on the phantasia spectrum?
« Reply #23 on: Yesterday at 04:19:58 pm »
Is this phantasia spectrum the same as conceptual thinking?

So, I did a bit of a quick online search and discovered I'm really not best placed to answer the question!  It turns out conceptual thinking is something I'm terrible at.

I'd guess (based on nothing more than instinct) that there could potentially be correlations between those people who are strong conceptual thinkers and those who are at one end or another of the phantasia spectrum.  Which end of the spectrum do you feel would be the stronger conceptual thinkers?

I wonder if there's been any research into it?  I might ask my friend who's doing a PhD in psychology is she's at a loose end at some point whether she'd be willing to look into it.
“Radiate boundless love towards the entire world — above, below, and across — unhindered, without ill will, without enmity.” – The Buddha
(From the Metta Sutta)

My Portrait of Perpetual Perplexity blog

 

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