Maybe you are one of those people who in their childhood had to hear from their mothers phrases like "stop dreaming" or "you are on the moon", while instead of doing your homework you remained motionless recreating with your mind a future, reliving an experience or simply visualizing something desired. Well, there are people who can not do what most of us find so simple, suffer a rare disorder known as Afantasía or Blind Mind . Join us to discover what it is and how it affects those who suffer.
There are a number of disorders known as invisible disabilities , which account for 80% of disabilities. The afantasy or blind mind It is one of them, but there are many more and, generally, as they do not show any visible trait they are not taken into account. There are physicists such as color blindness, diabetes or rheumatism and there are psychics or cognitive ones. All have in common the fact that they limit opportunities to interact with the environment without it being able to perceive that a disability exists.
Afantasía or Blind Mind
Most people, when we hear something mentioned, we are able to visualize it mentally without any effort . If you hear about a red, fresh and juicy apple, surely it will not cost you to evoke it, however there is a rare disorder called afantasy or blind mind consisting of the inability to visualize those mental images.
For most of us, memories are made of images, but for those affected by afantasy or blind mind, no. They are able to remember the data , but not seeing the images in your head. The term Afantasía was coined in 2015 to give a name to this disorder that was known to exist, but had practically not been studied.
The term "mental image" describes the representation in our brain, memorized or imagined , of a physical object, idea, concept or situation. The person who suffers afantasía is not able to visualize those images voluntarily. In 1880 this disorder was described by Sir Francis Galton, a famous polymath British, but after him there are practically no studies until 201 5 in which they were taken up by scientists from the University of Exeter who were the ones who coined in Afantasy term.
The Professor Adam Zeman of the University of Exeter was interested in the disorder following a man who a brain surgery left without the ability to produce mental images. When this case became public, more affected people came to light, some of whom suffered congenital affliction and not acquired. People who suffer from afantasy can not have voluntary visualizations, but yes involuntary as are the dreams .
Psychologists often use a questionnaire known as the "Vividness of Visual Imagery" in which you have to qualify different mental images to test the strength with which the "eye of the mind" works. It is long and complicated, so researchers from the University of Exeter, the creator of the test, have created a shorter questionnaire, but enough to detect whether there is total afantasy. You have to answer the questions by choosing the answer between these five:
- I do not have any images
- The image is vague and tenuous
- The image is moderately clear
- The image is reasonably clear
- The image is as vivid as if it were in real life
This is the simplified test of the University of Exeter:
1. Create in your mind the image of a friend or family member you see frequently. How clearly can you see the contours of your face, your head, shoulders and body?
2. Following with that same family member or friend: With what force or clarity can you see their characteristic gestures and poses, both of their head and of their body?
3. How clearly can you imagine how a relative or a friend walks? How are your steps, length, etc.?
4. In the fourth question ask to be qualified how you see in your mind the colors of that person's clothes. How do you visualize the colors of your garments?
5. Create the mental image of a sunrise and look in detail at what you visualize of that rising sun. How clear do you see the image of the sun rising over the horizon in a hazy sky?
6. Imagine that the mist disappears and the blue sky surrounds the sun, how vivid is that image in your mind?
7. Suddenly, "clouds appear in your sky and an electrical storm explodes". How clearly can you see it?
8. Finally a rainbow appears in your sky, how clearly can you distinguish it?
A person with total afantasía will respond in all cases: "I have no image" . The degrees of afantasy can vary and the complete test, which consists of 16 questions, identifies the degree to which each patient suffers and if it affects one way or several.
How did the test go? Do you think you can suffer from anxiety? Many people did not know they had it, but they realized that they related to their environment in a different way to most . Some of those who suffer from it do not see it as a disability, but as a different way of seeing the world, but others suffer from not being able to remember the face of a deceased relative or simply the features of a friend. On the opposite side to those who suffer afantasía is a group of people called "Supervisors" who have vibrant and extremely real mental images. Many plastic artists belong to this group.
Did you know the upset of the afantasy or blind mind ? Do you know of someone who suffers? Share it with us! If this post has interested you, maybe you want to know more about another little known disorder; Signs that you have Personality Disorder by Avoidance.