Why do some people see nothing when they close their eyes?

As you read this, take a quick look around you and pick out an object that catches your eye. Look at it well. Stare at it for a while. Now close your eyes. Do you still see it? Can you visualize that object in your mind? how does it look Is it still as clear as the real thing? Do you see its colors, lines, shape and texture, or does it appear vague and unclear?

As you visualize the object in your mind, see how long you can hold the image in your mind. How does the object change over time? Does it fade away?

Now visualize a random object or scene from your childhood and ask yourself the same questions. How clearly can you see it in your mind?

Some people can’t see anything. Their mind’s eye is empty. They experience a nervous phenomenon called aphantasia.

Aphantasia is a condition in which a person cannot visualize mental images. In other words, when these people try to imagine or think about something, they cannot create an internal mental image. Because of this, people with aphantasia may have difficulty recalling past experiences and visual details associated with their memories.

People with aphantasia also usually have difficulty doing tasks that require visualizing or picturing physical objects and how they move and rotate in space. This may also affect their spatial reasoning. Of course, a recently published study showed that while people with aphantasia have trouble remembering and recalling objects, their spatial memory is not affected by this condition.

Although you should know that aphantasia is not classified as a type of neurological disorder or neuropsychiatric disorder. In general, this condition does not interfere with daily life. For some people with aphantasia, however, the condition can be frustrating and limit their ability to do or remember things correctly.

It is not fully known what proportion of the population has aphantasia, but reportedly ForbesCurrent estimates indicate that about 4% of the population experiences it.

What does a person with aphantasia experience?

While each person’s experience is unique, the most prominent feature of aphantasia is the inability to see or imagine anything in the mind. These people do not succeed even when they try to remember a scene or a visual object. Apart from the problem of remembering, they also lack the ability to create mental images or have difficulty doing so.

For example, a person with aphantasia may not be able to visualize or remember what they saw in a movie. This person may not be able to form a mental image based on a description they read in a book or hear in a story. It can also be difficult to remember events that have happened to them in the past. Remembering faces is also difficult or impossible for these people.

What causes aphantasia?

It is not fully understood what causes aphantasia and why some people cannot visualize images in their mind.

There is evidence that aphantasia is the result of altered activity in different parts of the brain that create and process visual images and visualizations.

A scattered network of different brain regions, including parts of the visual cortex, temporal lobe, and parietal lobe, play a role in creating and processing visual images. These areas are involved in the processing and integration of visual information and are thought to play a key role in creating mental images. It is possible that structural and functional changes in certain networks of neurons and other nerve cells in these areas cause their performance to be different compared to people who can produce mental images.

The brain receives information from the outside world through its five senses. The brain integrates the information of its different regions and creates an internal model of the physical environment by combining the information obtained from different sensory inputs. In fact, none of us have ever directly seen what the physical world around us looks like. We can only interpret how the world around us can be based on the internal model that our brain and mind create.

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