Author Topic: How it feels to be blind in your mind  (Read 13021 times)

lifejoy

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3906
  • Age: 29
  • Location: Canada, eh
  • Lovin' the Mustachian life!
    • Not Buying This
How it feels to be blind in your mind
« on: July 09, 2016, 10:09:14 AM »
http://sapir.psych.wisc.edu/~lupyan/blake_ross_aphantasia.pdf

Trippiest article I've read in a long time. Definitely a must-read!!

bobechs

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1077
Re: How it feels to be blind in your mind
« Reply #1 on: July 09, 2016, 10:55:31 AM »
Not so much blind in my mind, as insane in the membrane.

nnls

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 889
  • Location: Perth, AU
Re: How it feels to be blind in your mind
« Reply #2 on: July 09, 2016, 07:15:20 PM »
I have this! I only realised recently that other people are different to me. I didnt know the name for it though.

I was only discussing this the other day with friends who all seemed to think I was crazy

PFHC

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 617
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Midcoast Maine
  • Busy doing.
Re: How it feels to be blind in your mind
« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2016, 07:59:33 PM »
Wild. Mental visualization really enriches my life. How interesting that there are those that don't have that.

Thanks for the interesting read!

Sibley

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2527
  • Age: 32
  • Location: Chicago, IL
Re: How it feels to be blind in your mind
« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2016, 08:15:09 PM »
I am like that as well. I'll know what someone looks like, but can't "see" them. I really thought that everyone else was using a figure of speech when they said they could "visualize" something, until I saw something on FB about it. Blew my mind.

Take a camera with you when you want to know what something looks like.

YogiKitti

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 984
Re: How it feels to be blind in your mind
« Reply #5 on: July 09, 2016, 09:39:12 PM »
I've always been able to visualize things well. I can completely rearrange a room's furniture and I used to visually do math by "seeing" the numbers until someone asked why I had crazy eyes. I remember the moment when I learned most people can't do that. Learning people can't visualize as well as I can helped me learn how to communicate better.

lifejoy

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3906
  • Age: 29
  • Location: Canada, eh
  • Lovin' the Mustachian life!
    • Not Buying This
Re: How it feels to be blind in your mind
« Reply #6 on: July 09, 2016, 10:30:49 PM »
I've always been able to visualize things well. I can completely rearrange a room's furniture and I used to visually do math by "seeing" the numbers until someone asked why I had crazy eyes. I remember the moment when I learned most people can't do that. Learning people can't visualize as well as I can helped me learn how to communicate better.

In what ways has this realization affected the way you communicate? I'm always looking for new and better ways to get through to people :)

YogiKitti

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 984
Re: How it feels to be blind in your mind
« Reply #7 on: July 09, 2016, 11:26:19 PM »
I've always been able to visualize things well. I can completely rearrange a room's furniture and I used to visually do math by "seeing" the numbers until someone asked why I had crazy eyes. I remember the moment when I learned most people can't do that. Learning people can't visualize as well as I can helped me learn how to communicate better.

In what ways has this realization affected the way you communicate? I'm always looking for new and better ways to get through to people :)

Things like describing a thing/situation or giving directions I now try to talk it through their blank perspective instead of my visual perspective. I also tend to look off to the side during conversations because I am "seeing" whatever I'm talking about, so I try to remember that eye contact is important.

former player

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2880
  • Location: Avalon
Re: How it feels to be blind in your mind
« Reply #8 on: July 10, 2016, 02:43:37 AM »
I once went to a beginner's art class. 10 of us used the same materials, had the same instruction, the same still life or life model to paint, were in the same room at the same time.  Every picture produced was so different from all the others, and so individual.  We all saw and interpreted and reproduced the world around us so differently it struck me as astonishing that we manage to communicate with each other at all.

Which is not quite the same point as the article, but maybe related.
Be frugal and industrious, and you will be free (Ben Franklin)

arebelspy

  • Administrator
  • Senior Mustachian
  • *****
  • Posts: 27207
  • Age: -999
  • Location: Traveling the World
Re: How it feels to be blind in your mind
« Reply #9 on: July 10, 2016, 03:01:52 AM »
I have aphantasia as well.

I, too, only realized maybe 5ish years ago (in my mid-20s) that my brain was different than most in not being able to visualize.

Aphantasia became a popular pop-psychology topic a year or two ago.  Googling aphantasia you can see lots of articles on it from 2015 and 2016 (BBC, NYT, etc.)

I am getting better at "picturing" things through hacks I've developed.

But if I close my eyes, I can't conjure up an image of, say, an apple.  Or a clock.  Or my mother's face.  Or anything, really.  But try to close your eyes and picture your best friend.  I guess most people can.  That seems weird to me.

One other thing I discovered a few years ago (several years after finding out not everyone pictures things) that's different about my brain, that I'm curious to hear from other people with aphantasia: I don't have a "voice" inside my head.

Just like I always thought people "picturing" things was a metaphor (and you don't actually "see" it in your mind, though apparently most people do), I thought the voice in your head was a metaphor.

I don't have the internal monologue/running dialogue/whatever you want to call it.

The thing that meditation is supposed to help quiet?  I didn't get that, because most of the time my mind is quiet, naturally, unless I'm purposefully thinking something.

Can anyone else with aphantasia confirm if they do or don't have an inner monologue/dialogue?  I'm curious if the two are related, or if my brain is weird in two distinct ways.


EDIT: Just read the article linked in the OP, which I had opened in a background tab, and is apparently someone's facebook post. They have an inner monologue.  So apparently not all people with aphantasia are missing that.  Anyone else with a data point for me?  Mine is somewhat different from theirs though.  I do picture things in dreams, because when I wake up, I have the data about it, even though I can no longer picture it.  And I have had songs "stuck" in my head, and they haven't.  But going through their mind is "All narration, all the time." (direct quote.)  I don't have narration at all.  So some of the aspects are different, but the core not picturing stuff is the same.
« Last Edit: July 10, 2016, 03:13:07 AM by arebelspy »
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, and now travel the world full time with a kid.
If you want to know more about me, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (occasionally) blog at AdventuringAlong.com.
You can also read my forum "Journal."

PFHC

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 617
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Midcoast Maine
  • Busy doing.
Re: How it feels to be blind in your mind
« Reply #10 on: July 10, 2016, 03:29:37 AM »
My wife is like that. She does not picture anything in her head. And she rarely has an inner monologue. We'll be sitting chilling out and I'll ask what she is thinking about. She very often says nothing... as in, seriously not one thing, which blows my mind.

There is never been a minute in my entire life that I thought of nothing. My mind is always busy with an inner monologue, visualization, daydreaming, whatever. I can't think of a second of my life that I was thinking of nothing.

gooki

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2221
  • Location: NZ
Re: How it feels to be blind in your mind
« Reply #11 on: July 10, 2016, 03:31:30 AM »
Thanks for sharing, I never knew people were so different.

Not exactly related, but as someone who can visualise pretty much anything in my head while I'm awake, I no longer recall my dreams. No memory and no visualisations when I wake up (an exception occurs about once a year).
Follow me on my journey to FI.

nnls

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 889
  • Location: Perth, AU
Re: How it feels to be blind in your mind
« Reply #12 on: July 10, 2016, 03:46:14 AM »
I have aphantasia as well.

One other thing I discovered a few years ago (several years after finding out not everyone pictures things) that's different about my brain, that I'm curious to hear from other people with aphantasia: I don't have a "voice" inside my head.

Just like I always thought people "picturing" things was a metaphor (and you don't actually "see" it in your mind, though apparently most people do), I thought the voice in your head was a metaphor.

I don't have the internal monologue/running dialogue/whatever you want to call it.

The thing that meditation is supposed to help quiet?  I didn't get that, because most of the time my mind is quiet, naturally, unless I'm purposefully thinking something.

Can anyone else with aphantasia confirm if they do or don't have an inner monologue/dialogue?  I'm curious if the two are related, or if my brain is weird in two distinct ways.


EDIT: Just read the article linked in the OP, which I had opened in a background tab, and is apparently someone's facebook post. They have an inner monologue.  So apparently not all people with aphantasia are missing that.  Anyone else with a data point for me?  Mine is somewhat different from theirs though.  I do picture things in dreams, because when I wake up, I have the data about it, even though I can no longer picture it.  And I have had songs "stuck" in my head, and they haven't.  But going through their mind is "All narration, all the time." (direct quote.)  I don't have narration at all.  So some of the aspects are different, but the core not picturing stuff is the same.


I have an inner monolog and aphantasia. Infact i wish i could turn my inner monologue off. Though i think mine is more to do with my anxiety as its pretty much a constant voice in my head telling me things are going to go wrong. Not a running log of whats happening.

arebelspy

  • Administrator
  • Senior Mustachian
  • *****
  • Posts: 27207
  • Age: -999
  • Location: Traveling the World
Re: How it feels to be blind in your mind
« Reply #13 on: July 10, 2016, 03:49:56 AM »
My wife is like that. She does not picture anything in her head. And she rarely has an inner monologue. We'll be sitting chilling out and I'll ask what she is thinking about. She very often says nothing... as in, seriously not one thing, which blows my mind.

Okay, so far count: 2-2
Me, PFHC wife: Aphantasia with no inner monologue
FB author from OP, nnls: Aphantasia with inner monologue

Very small sample size, but possibly somewhat correlated, since I feel both are rare, and so even finding someone else within that early of a sample size it seems unlikely to have the overlap if they aren't correlated (due to multiplying the odds, finding someone like that this early would be extremely unlikely).

Thanks for the anecdotes!  :)

And yeah, nnls, my wife (who doesn't have aphantasia, and does have the inner monologue, so quite normal in both respects), is often jealous of my lack of inner monologue.  Hers is often critical, I guess.
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, and now travel the world full time with a kid.
If you want to know more about me, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (occasionally) blog at AdventuringAlong.com.
You can also read my forum "Journal."

nnls

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 889
  • Location: Perth, AU
Re: How it feels to be blind in your mind
« Reply #14 on: July 10, 2016, 03:52:16 AM »
Yes i find mone distracts me from real life as I am too busy trying to not listen to the horrible things it is saying.

arebelspy

  • Administrator
  • Senior Mustachian
  • *****
  • Posts: 27207
  • Age: -999
  • Location: Traveling the World
Re: How it feels to be blind in your mind
« Reply #15 on: July 10, 2016, 04:06:15 AM »
Yes i find mone distracts me from real life as I am too busy trying to not listen to the horrible things it is saying.

Ugh, that's unfortunate!  I don't think hers is that bad, more like replaying old conversations.

Definitely look into meditation though, I've heard it's quite helpful for that.  And some positive self-talk, and confidence booster stuff could help as well.
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, and now travel the world full time with a kid.
If you want to know more about me, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (occasionally) blog at AdventuringAlong.com.
You can also read my forum "Journal."

YogiKitti

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 984
Re: How it feels to be blind in your mind
« Reply #16 on: July 10, 2016, 04:22:02 AM »
Quote
I don't have the internal monologue/running dialogue/whatever you want to call it.

The thing that meditation is supposed to help quiet?  I didn't get that, because most of the time my mind is quiet, naturally, unless I'm purposefully thinking something.

Not to sound rude, but how do you think? Do you have to write things down when weighing two decisions?

arebelspy

  • Administrator
  • Senior Mustachian
  • *****
  • Posts: 27207
  • Age: -999
  • Location: Traveling the World
Re: How it feels to be blind in your mind
« Reply #17 on: July 10, 2016, 05:02:42 AM »
Quote
I don't have the internal monologue/running dialogue/whatever you want to call it.

The thing that meditation is supposed to help quiet?  I didn't get that, because most of the time my mind is quiet, naturally, unless I'm purposefully thinking something.

Not to sound rude, but how do you think? Do you have to write things down when weighing two decisions?

No, I can purposefully create lines of thoughts.  It just doesn't "wander."

I describe it like a train track.

I set my thoughts on a track, and it goes until it hits the conclusion.  I might, along the way, see a side track split off, and switch to that, run to the end of that, then go back to the main track until that end.  But it's purposeful.

And at the end, my mind is blank, unless I purposefully set it thinking about another thing.

I don't typically have random thoughts out of the blue, unless they're triggered by something.  Often I set myself triggers to have thoughts occur.  But from what I understand from discussions from my wife, she might see a cat and think "oh, there's a cat.. i had a cat when i was a kid.. i also had a horse*.. wow, it's been a long time since I rode a horse..or a motorcycle.. i like riding motorcycles.. i wonder where my motorcycle helmet is, is it in the back of the closet? man we need to clean out the closet" and then she'd say out loud to me something about needing to clean out the closet, and I ask what made her think of that.. and sometimes she can trace it back to seeing the cat, other times she has no idea.  But it's like a running dialogue like that?

*This is a made-up example.. she didn't have a horse, just trying to illustrate a point.

That's as best as I understand.

I would never get there that way.  I'd see a cat, and go "a cat" and then my mind goes back to blank.  Perhaps if I set a trigger in my mind around the cat, I might go "a cat. oh, i need to feed it" and my mind would go back to blank, and I'd go feed it.

So I think thoughts, but it's mostly extemporaneously, and then it stops.

I can recall things, and put them together on the fly, but it's not a running dialogue.  It's a set of thoughts that then stops.

Also when it is thoughts, it's not a "voice".  It's more like a list of facts.  Which is also how I "see" things, since I don't visualize them.

I also don't sub-vocalize when I read, for example.  I realize others don't do this, but they train it out of themselves?  I've never done it.  The words just are in my head, but not auditorily.   They're just.. there.  I don't know how to describe it.

But I have no "voice" in my head.  The fact that you do is really, really weird to me.  MUCH weirder than the visualizing thing.   :)
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, and now travel the world full time with a kid.
If you want to know more about me, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (occasionally) blog at AdventuringAlong.com.
You can also read my forum "Journal."

Cottonswab

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 169
  • Age: 31
  • Location: The Mountains
  • Occasional Advice Dispensary
    • My Journal
Re: How it feels to be blind in your mind
« Reply #18 on: July 10, 2016, 05:03:15 AM »
Interesting topic.

I have never really had much of an internal monologue.  On the rare occasions I notice it, my internal monologue tends to be simple, enthusiastic, and repetitive. 

I also have a limited ability to visualize things.  While I can visualize memories and fantasies, unlike the Author, my mental images tend to be blurry, poorly defined, and difficult to maintain.  I think this is largely a result of excessive reading and writing.  For me, it is easier to capture memories in words, rather than pictures. 

Like the author, I tend to filter out sensory descriptions in stories and focus primarily on plot development.  I do not tend to remember descriptions about character's appearance, unless it relates to the plot or another character's reaction.  And I generally forget about the image until the author brings it up again (e.g., Harry Potter's scar, the shape of his wand, etc.). 

When I wrote my own fiction, I deliberately refrained from providing character descriptions that had no bearing on the plot or other character's reactions.  This was apparently off-putting for some of my readers.  I had initially thought that people who needed the additional detail would automatically fill in the missing details in their mental picture, but apparently some readers apparently struggled to create a sufficiently detailed image of the character without the additional character description, which negatively impacted their reading experiences.

« Last Edit: July 29, 2016, 12:46:20 PM by Cottonswab »

MarcherLady

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1693
  • Age: 46
  • Location: Herefordshire, UK
Re: How it feels to be blind in your mind
« Reply #19 on: July 10, 2016, 09:31:01 AM »
Wow, really fascinating, thanks Lifejoy. 

I sometimes sub-vocalise while I'm reading, but more often I don't. I generally don't have a strong visual mental image of characters that I am reading about though, unless I concentrate quite hard - by which I mean that I can conjure up images of my favourite characters right now, but reading a book is not like watching a video on the inside of my eyelids - I don't see the characters acting out the story.

I also have the inner monologue, very similar to how ARS describes his wife's.  Plus I also sometimes 'hear voices' which I can identify as other people's.  These are usually people I've just spent time with, and generally people who I find it difficult to be around, my Mum, a friend who I had a difficult relationship with.  These are sometimes easily audible, sometimes it's hard to make out what they are saying - but it's generally critical.  I usually interpret it as a sign that I'm over-stimulated and stressed.   I've heard that hearing voices is OK, so long as you are aware that the voices are coming from the inside of your head.  It's when you think they are coming from outside your head that it's a problem... eek, I hope so.
One step at a time  ARS says I'm FI.  I'm still coming round to the idea.

Target FIRE: 10/10/2020, but I hang out with the 2021 Cohort

lifejoy

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3906
  • Age: 29
  • Location: Canada, eh
  • Lovin' the Mustachian life!
    • Not Buying This
Re: How it feels to be blind in your mind
« Reply #20 on: July 10, 2016, 09:51:11 AM »
ARS - just curious, but how are you at small talk or casual conversation? My DH is best at conversation that has a "track" so to speak, but would find it difficult to talk in the "cat to horse to motorcycle" style that some people think in. My thought process is closer to your wife's.

lifejoy

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3906
  • Age: 29
  • Location: Canada, eh
  • Lovin' the Mustachian life!
    • Not Buying This
Re: How it feels to be blind in your mind
« Reply #21 on: July 10, 2016, 09:52:25 AM »
I like my inner monologue "voice in my head" because I use it to tell myself positive things (usually) or to reframe things with extreme optimism. It is the story I tell myself, the lens through which I see the world, and I know I can use it to make sure I'm seeing through rose-coloured glasses :)

oldladystache

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 328
  • Age: 73
  • Location: coastal southern california
Re: How it feels to be blind in your mind
« Reply #22 on: July 10, 2016, 10:18:43 AM »
This is all fascinating.

I have Aphantasia with no inner monologue, but I have music constantly running in my head.

If I'm reading something and come upon the word "tomorrow", my music changes to "the sun will come out tomorrow" and stays until something else triggers a change. I have several standbys, including my 50 year old high school fight song, for when nothing else comes up. I don't do whole songs, just the same phrase, over, and over, and over.

A few years ago my parents and I all discovered that we have the same problem recognizing people. We had all been hiding it, but when one admitted it the others did too. We have to know someone really well to recognize them right away. There are three or four blonde women I see frequently on TV that I can't tell apart. Martha Stewart, and Diane Sawyer, at least two more are news people.

arebelspy

  • Administrator
  • Senior Mustachian
  • *****
  • Posts: 27207
  • Age: -999
  • Location: Traveling the World
Re: How it feels to be blind in your mind
« Reply #23 on: July 10, 2016, 02:30:10 PM »
ARS - just curious, but how are you at small talk or casual conversation? My DH is best at conversation that has a "track" so to speak, but would find it difficult to talk in the "cat to horse to motorcycle" style that some people think in. My thought process is closer to your wife's.

It's something I've had to work at, but I think that's more related to my being an introvert than the way I think.

I have certain "go tos" and stuff, triggers like I described above.  But I'm very bad at spontaneously generating, and so there can be awkward pauses as I struggle to generate something to talk about.

But again, I think that's somewhat common, and more related to my personality than type of thinking.  Of course, I could be wrong, I find that out all the time.  :)

A few years ago my parents and I all discovered that we have the same problem recognizing people. We had all been hiding it, but when one admitted it the others did too. We have to know someone really well to recognize them right away. There are three or four blonde women I see frequently on TV that I can't tell apart. Martha Stewart, and Diane Sawyer, at least two more are news people.

I think that's a totally separate thing than aphantasia.  I have no problem recognizing people (I'm great with faces--terrible with names), nor did the FB author.
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, and now travel the world full time with a kid.
If you want to know more about me, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (occasionally) blog at AdventuringAlong.com.
You can also read my forum "Journal."

YogiKitti

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 984
Re: How it feels to be blind in your mind
« Reply #24 on: July 10, 2016, 04:13:46 PM »
Quote
I sometimes sub-vocalise while I'm reading, but more often I don't. I generally don't have a strong visual mental image of characters that I am reading about though, unless I concentrate quite hard - by which I mean that I can conjure up images of my favourite characters right now, but reading a book is not like watching a video on the inside of my eyelids - I don't see the characters acting out the story.


Perhaps this is why some people enjoy reading more than others. When I read, its like the words fade away to a movie. I don't notice anything but what I am picturing happen. Actually, I would describe all my visualizing like a movie where they can add special effects and have images swirl around them.


This whole thread is so fascinating.

JPinDC

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 169
  • Age: 31
  • Location: DMV
Re: How it feels to be blind in your mind
« Reply #25 on: July 10, 2016, 04:34:20 PM »
I always knew some people had the ability to picture things in their mind, but I didn't realize that not being able to picture things was so rare. I close my eyes and just see nothing. I know what something looks like, but I have no ability to picture it. I figured lots of people were like that, and like the author, that people often used "picture this" as a metaphor.

I have trouble "remembering" things happening in my past, but I do know that they happened. And if I've seen a photo of an event, I'm much more likely to recall details of it, as I can't really replay it in my head. I do occasionally dream pictures though, but I don't often remember it.

ARS, I do have a running monologue in the way you describe your wife's, in that I can think from one thing to the next and then mention something that seems completely unrelated.

I tend to skim books that I'm reading and sort of fly by the details, since I also can't really "picture" the scene they're setting, which Blake describes in the article.

Thanks for sharing it!


Cassie

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3933
Re: How it feels to be blind in your mind
« Reply #26 on: July 10, 2016, 04:55:15 PM »
Interesting topic. I definitely have a very active inner voice-especially if I am troubled by something or trying to work out a solution, etc.  My inner voice can be critical too.  I did not realize that some people did not or could not picture something.  I actually can't even imagine having an empty mind. I have used meditation to quiet my mind.

PFHC

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 617
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Midcoast Maine
  • Busy doing.
Re: How it feels to be blind in your mind
« Reply #27 on: July 10, 2016, 05:04:33 PM »
My wife is like that. She does not picture anything in her head. And she rarely has an inner monologue. We'll be sitting chilling out and I'll ask what she is thinking about. She very often says nothing... as in, seriously not one thing, which blows my mind.

Okay, so far count: 2-2
Me, PFHC wife: Aphantasia with no inner monologue
FB author from OP, nnls: Aphantasia with inner monologue
So, I talked in depth with the old lady, and I need to remove her from the aphantasia list. She can picture things in her mind. Just not things she hasn't seen before. I.e. she can't fabricate something that she has never seen.

rockstache

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4040
  • Age: 2013
  • Location: Northeast
Re: How it feels to be blind in your mind
« Reply #28 on: July 10, 2016, 05:36:53 PM »
This is a bizarre concept to me, especially as an introvert. I spend most of my free time living inside my head, which would be far more boring if I couldn't picture things, or have internal conversations. Or does that make me a wee bit crazy?! My inner monologue begins before I am fully awake in the morning and I often drop off to sleep listening to her too. I can control it, determine not to listen, etc..but it took me a long time to learn how. When I'm totally alone, such as in the car, it just comes right out loud.

Cyaphas

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 499
  • Age: 35
  • Location: DFW, TX
Re: How it feels to be blind in your mind
« Reply #29 on: July 10, 2016, 08:27:20 PM »
I imagine this made for a very boring puberty.
“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”
-Nelson Mandela

“Gold is the money of kings, silver is the money of gentlemen, barter is the money of peasants – but debt is the money of slaves.”
-Norm Franz

Tom Bri

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 557
  • Location: Small Town, Flyover Country
  • More just cheap, than Mustachian
Re: How it feels to be blind in your mind
« Reply #30 on: July 10, 2016, 09:08:58 PM »
This is all fascinating.

I have Aphantasia with no inner monologue, but I have music constantly running in my head.

If I'm reading something and come upon the word "tomorrow", my music changes to "the sun will come out tomorrow" and stays until something else triggers a change. I have several standbys, including my 50 year old high school fight song, for when nothing else comes up. I don't do whole songs, just the same phrase, over, and over, and over.

A few years ago my parents and I all discovered that we have the same problem recognizing people. We had all been hiding it, but when one admitted it the others did too. We have to know someone really well to recognize them right away. There are three or four blonde women I see frequently on TV that I can't tell apart. Martha Stewart, and Diane Sawyer, at least two more are news people.

I have often thought that the reason people have music/TV constantly running is because they don't want to listen to themselves think. Music is literally an escape from the self.

arebelspy

  • Administrator
  • Senior Mustachian
  • *****
  • Posts: 27207
  • Age: -999
  • Location: Traveling the World
Re: How it feels to be blind in your mind
« Reply #31 on: July 10, 2016, 11:13:14 PM »
My wife is like that. She does not picture anything in her head. And she rarely has an inner monologue. We'll be sitting chilling out and I'll ask what she is thinking about. She very often says nothing... as in, seriously not one thing, which blows my mind.

Okay, so far count: 2-2
Me, PFHC wife: Aphantasia with no inner monologue
FB author from OP, nnls: Aphantasia with inner monologue
So, I talked in depth with the old lady, and I need to remove her from the aphantasia list. She can picture things in her mind. Just not things she hasn't seen before. I.e. she can't fabricate something that she has never seen.

Darn!  Thanks for checking though!  :)
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, and now travel the world full time with a kid.
If you want to know more about me, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (occasionally) blog at AdventuringAlong.com.
You can also read my forum "Journal."

Dicey

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6891
  • Age: 59
  • Location: NorCal
Re: How it feels to be blind in your mind
« Reply #32 on: July 11, 2016, 12:22:50 AM »
I've noticed this topic since it began. Finally clicked over and I'm blown away by this conversation . So much food for thought. I am a "cat-horse-motorcycle" processor, with lightning-fast speed. Sometimes when I am really tired, I come up with some really silly-sounding comments. They are completely illogical to others (poor DH!), but make total sense to me. Tired now, so I better come back later, lol.
I did it! I have a journal!
A Lot Like This
And hell yes, I am still moving confidently in the direction of my dreams...

PFHC

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 617
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Midcoast Maine
  • Busy doing.
Re: How it feels to be blind in your mind
« Reply #33 on: July 11, 2016, 12:34:03 AM »
I've noticed this topic since it began. Finally clicked over and I'm blown away by this conversation . So much food for thought. I am a "cat-horse-motorcycle" processor, with lightning-fast speed. Sometimes when I am really tired, I come up with some really silly-sounding comments. They are completely illogical to others (poor DH!), but make total sense to me. Tired now, so I better come back later, lol.
This is the way my mind works, as well, DianeC. I find I often have to explain the jumps in conversation I make. It all makes sense once its explained, but the looks of confusion I get first off are pretty comical. :)

PFHC

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 617
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Midcoast Maine
  • Busy doing.
Re: How it feels to be blind in your mind
« Reply #34 on: July 11, 2016, 12:42:17 AM »
Perhaps this is why some people enjoy reading more than others. When I read, its like the words fade away to a movie. I don't notice anything but what I am picturing happen. Actually, I would describe all my visualizing like a movie where they can add special effects and have images swirl around them.
This is how I read. The words almost disappear and, as you said, a movie takes their place.

How fascinating anything else would be... Mr. arebelspy, do you just process the words for their meaning alone?
« Last Edit: July 11, 2016, 01:29:47 AM by PFHC »

nnls

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 889
  • Location: Perth, AU
Re: How it feels to be blind in your mind
« Reply #35 on: July 11, 2016, 12:43:56 AM »
I've noticed this topic since it began. Finally clicked over and I'm blown away by this conversation . So much food for thought. I am a "cat-horse-motorcycle" processor, with lightning-fast speed. Sometimes when I am really tired, I come up with some really silly-sounding comments. They are completely illogical to others (poor DH!), but make total sense to me. Tired now, so I better come back later, lol.

I also have this problem, and will jump between topics too quickly for other people. Or if I am writting things down my brain works quicker than I can write so I skip words which used to be an issue when I was at school writting essays. Now with typing its not so much of a problem as I can generally type quicker than I write.

My mum also has a habit of jumping between conversations and then picking up old conversations hours or days later. I having grown up with her can generally follow or pick up what she is talking about but other people not so much.


arebelspy

  • Administrator
  • Senior Mustachian
  • *****
  • Posts: 27207
  • Age: -999
  • Location: Traveling the World
Re: How it feels to be blind in your mind
« Reply #36 on: July 11, 2016, 12:55:00 AM »
This is how I read. The words almost disappear and, as you said, a movie takes their place.

How fascinating anything else would be... Mr. arebelspy, do you just process the words for their meaning alone?

Yes.

EDIT: The wife, for example, will be disappointed in a movie if the characters don't look like she pictured them.  I have no picture in my head.  At best I have a list of facts of their description, if I bothered to note it, but if they don't match up (as long as it's not an important characteristic), I may not even notice, as I probably don't "pull up" this list of facts when watching.  I imagine others with aphantasia though may pull up their list more readily though, if they have the inner monologue.
« Last Edit: July 11, 2016, 12:56:55 AM by arebelspy »
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, and now travel the world full time with a kid.
If you want to know more about me, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (occasionally) blog at AdventuringAlong.com.
You can also read my forum "Journal."

nnls

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 889
  • Location: Perth, AU
Re: How it feels to be blind in your mind
« Reply #37 on: July 11, 2016, 12:56:58 AM »
Quote
Perhaps this is why some people enjoy reading more than others. When I read, its like the words fade away to a movie. I don't notice anything but what I am picturing happen. Actually, I would describe all my visualizing like a movie where they can add special effects and have images swirl around them.
This is how I read. The words almost disappear and, as you said, a movie takes their place.

How fascinating anything else would be... Mr. arebelspy, do you just process the words for their meaning alone?
I really enjoy reading, will usually choose to read over watching a movie or tv. But I dont visualise it at all.
« Last Edit: July 11, 2016, 01:34:10 AM by nnls »

PFHC

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 617
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Midcoast Maine
  • Busy doing.
Re: How it feels to be blind in your mind
« Reply #38 on: July 11, 2016, 01:27:38 AM »
No, I can purposefully create lines of thoughts.  It just doesn't "wander."

I describe it like a train track.

I set my thoughts on a track, and it goes until it hits the conclusion.  I might, along the way, see a side track split off, and switch to that, run to the end of that, then go back to the main track until that end.  But it's purposeful.

And at the end, my mind is blank, unless I purposefully set it thinking about another thing.

I don't typically have random thoughts out of the blue, unless they're triggered by something.  Often I set myself triggers to have thoughts occur.  But from what I understand from discussions from my wife, she might see a cat and think "oh, there's a cat.. i had a cat when i was a kid.. i also had a horse*.. wow, it's been a long time since I rode a horse..or a motorcycle.. i like riding motorcycles.. i wonder where my motorcycle helmet is, is it in the back of the closet? man we need to clean out the closet" and then she'd say out loud to me something about needing to clean out the closet, and I ask what made her think of that.. and sometimes she can trace it back to seeing the cat, other times she has no idea.  But it's like a running dialogue like that?

*This is a made-up example.. she didn't have a horse, just trying to illustrate a point.

That's as best as I understand.

I would never get there that way.  I'd see a cat, and go "a cat" and then my mind goes back to blank.  Perhaps if I set a trigger in my mind around the cat, I might go "a cat. oh, i need to feed it" and my mind would go back to blank, and I'd go feed it.

So I think thoughts, but it's mostly extemporaneously, and then it stops.

I can recall things, and put them together on the fly, but it's not a running dialogue.  It's a set of thoughts that then stops.

Also when it is thoughts, it's not a "voice".  It's more like a list of facts.  Which is also how I "see" things, since I don't visualize them.

I also don't sub-vocalize when I read, for example.  I realize others don't do this, but they train it out of themselves?  I've never done it.  The words just are in my head, but not auditorily.   They're just.. there.  I don't know how to describe it.

But I have no "voice" in my head.  The fact that you do is really, really weird to me.  MUCH weirder than the visualizing thing.   :)
It makes me wonder what your fluid intelligence is like.

I'm an engineer and have always rated high in fluid intelligence. I'm a highly intuitive fluid thinker (which is a cool, but frustrating combination). I believe my high fluid intelligence comes from being able to visualize a problem in its entirety. Basically, my thinking works completely opposite of yours. There is no linearity. I am able to "picture" the problem, all aspects of it at once. But, I do not focus on it. My mind goes into a fluid state, constantly shifting (as I write this I have a mental image of what I am attempting to describe... it is so strange to realize you will not get anything) like a pot of pasta at a roiling boil. Often quickly, a solution pops into my conscious. Near as I can tell, solutions are derived by my subconscious accumulating micro data points and fitting them together until a complete picture is developed. When a solution comes to the front, I test it against the data I have gathered. If it matches, it is set aside as possible, and my mind returns to the boiling pot. Eventually I have to turn the process off because my subconscious is an infinitely creative beast and it will keep spitting out solutions well past the point of reason.

Its a pretty cool process and I am glad my mind works like it does. It moves fast and is able to handle complex problems, which I am endlessly thankful for. But, as I mentioned, it can be frustrating. Both because I'm either correct or spectacularly wrong, at about an even rate, and because (if correct) it is difficult to explain how I came to the solution. As I have gotten older, I am learning to mine my subconscious to discover where the micro data points came from and to drive the process into the conscious using confirmed macro data points. This is proving very helpful as a vast majority of my fellow engineers do not think like I do. Most have high crystallized intelligence and make decisions based upon sensing, not intuition...

Which leads me to wondering how your intuition is. Seems that your thoughts are so rigidly logical, that you may have a hard time connecting small, seemingly inconsequential data points into something cohesive. Where are you on the intuitive vs sensing scale?

PFHC

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 617
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Midcoast Maine
  • Busy doing.
Re: How it feels to be blind in your mind
« Reply #39 on: July 11, 2016, 01:32:43 AM »
Or if I am writing things down my brain works quicker than I can write so I skip words which used to be an issue when I was at school writing essays. Now with typing its not so much of a problem as I can generally type quicker than I write.
Ditto, except my mind still outpaces my typing.

nnls

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 889
  • Location: Perth, AU
Re: How it feels to be blind in your mind
« Reply #40 on: July 11, 2016, 01:35:47 AM »
Or if I am writing things down my brain works quicker than I can write so I skip words which used to be an issue when I was at school writing essays. Now with typing its not so much of a problem as I can generally type quicker than I write.
Ditto, except my mind still outpaces my typing.

I can type pretty quickly most of the time, though sometimes my mind goes a bit too quick.

PFHC

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 617
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Midcoast Maine
  • Busy doing.
Re: How it feels to be blind in your mind
« Reply #41 on: July 11, 2016, 01:41:28 AM »
Or if I am writing things down my brain works quicker than I can write so I skip words which used to be an issue when I was at school writing essays. Now with typing its not so much of a problem as I can generally type quicker than I write.
Ditto, except my mind still outpaces my typing.

I can type pretty quickly most of the time, though sometimes my mind goes a bit too quick.
Yeah. Not so much for me. I'm a five finger typer. Two on the left hand, three on the right. Ya... they don't teach that in school. :)

arebelspy

  • Administrator
  • Senior Mustachian
  • *****
  • Posts: 27207
  • Age: -999
  • Location: Traveling the World
Re: How it feels to be blind in your mind
« Reply #42 on: July 11, 2016, 02:19:19 AM »
Lack of inner monologue doesn't mean I don't think quickly.  On the contrary, I tend to have answers instantly, perhaps because of that.

I just asked my wife "How many people have you met in your life smarter than I am?", she thought about it for a bit and said "Maybbee... 5?"

Intelligence is not a problem for me.. emotions can be.

I imagine most of the people on here are the same though, I'd bet many of us were in the upper end of everything we've ever done, finishing in the 99th percentile in all tests, etc.

Inner monologue, or being able to picture things, doesn't have anything to do with intelligence, from what I can tell.

EDIT: This post seemed somewhat braggy, but I don't really know how to word it otherwise to address your question.  My intent with it was not to toot my own horn.
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, and now travel the world full time with a kid.
If you want to know more about me, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (occasionally) blog at AdventuringAlong.com.
You can also read my forum "Journal."

PFHC

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 617
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Midcoast Maine
  • Busy doing.
Re: How it feels to be blind in your mind
« Reply #43 on: July 11, 2016, 02:49:48 AM »
Lack of inner monologue doesn't mean I don't think quickly.  On the contrary, I tend to have answers instantly, perhaps because of that.

I just asked my wife "How many people have you met in your life smarter than I am?", she thought about it for a bit and said "Maybbee... 5?"

Intelligence is not a problem for me.. emotions can be.

I imagine most of the people on here are the same though, I'd bet many of us were in the upper end of everything we've ever done, finishing in the 99th percentile in all tests, etc.

Inner monologue, or being able to picture things, doesn't have anything to do with intelligence, from what I can tell.

EDIT: This post seemed somewhat braggy, but I don't really know how to word it otherwise to address your question.  My intent with it was not to toot my own horn.
I hear ya.

I didn't intend to infer you weren't intelligent. It's apparent you are a high functioning individual. I was asking about your fluid intelligence, which is just a part of your total intelligence.

Check out https://iqpro.org/ and take the test in the middle of the page to see how you do. Don't bother paying for the result at the end, obviously, but take it and see how you think you did. These type of tests were where I always did very well, and it seems it is because of my ability to visualize the answers. I wonder if someone with aphantasia, like yourself, may find them challenging.

By the way, Luminosity (a pay site) tests, and supposedly, improves your fluid intelligence. It is largely visual and requires you to hold an image in your head for increasingly long times as the games progress.

arebelspy

  • Administrator
  • Senior Mustachian
  • *****
  • Posts: 27207
  • Age: -999
  • Location: Traveling the World
Re: How it feels to be blind in your mind
« Reply #44 on: July 11, 2016, 03:20:56 AM »
I lol'd at being called a "high functioning individual"... makes me sound like I have autism or something.

I think my fluid intelligence is high.  As far as that test, I did the whole thing.  It was simple pattern recognition.  There were about four I had to think about, and one I guessed on.

Things that trouble me more are spacial things where I have to rearrange in my head.

Like word jumbles.  That's quite difficult for me, because I can't visualize the letters and "scramble" them around.  Or if I play scrabble.. I manually continually move the tiles around.  My wife sits and stares at her board, maybe occasionally moves a tile or two around, but I'm constantly flipping things and moving tiles.
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, and now travel the world full time with a kid.
If you want to know more about me, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (occasionally) blog at AdventuringAlong.com.
You can also read my forum "Journal."

ender

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3986
Re: How it feels to be blind in your mind
« Reply #45 on: July 11, 2016, 07:11:14 AM »
This is really interesting to me. Thanks for posting!

I... think I have this? because I identified with nearly everything in the article. Particularly the example of closing my eyes and visualizing a red triangle - I visualize it but I don't actually see it. Which when I write, sounds crazy. It's almost like I am looking at an area, seeing nothing, but then am constructing a "this is a triangle. a triangle has 3 sides. it's red, so it's red" type of explanation in my head.

Thinking of other things, I basically take the facts I can know about them and sort of put them into a "picture" as they come into my mind. Or maybe this is what "visualizing" actually is? For me, when I try to visualize something, it's almost as if there is a pen that is making a picture but only as I think of the relevant information/facts composing it.

TheOldestYoungMan

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 742
Re: How it feels to be blind in your mind
« Reply #46 on: July 11, 2016, 12:27:04 PM »
Whenever I try to picture something in my head it is constructed of legos.  I'm not sure if I'm actually picturing the thing, or if 7 year old me just saw it once, and put together the instructions for how to build it out of legos, and adult me just follows the instructions very carefully.

I definitely have an inner monologue.  I notice it most when I am reading.  Sometimes I can't make out the story I'm reading because of all the other shit in my head competing for attention.

It's like having a screaming baby, a toddler, a pre-teen, a teen, and a senior citizen all trying to get my attention while I'm trying to do something, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

But sometimes the monologue stops.  Particularly if I am very engaged.  In many ways this is how I judge how good something is.  Really excellent food, great books, fun activities can silence the monologue.  If I can't drown out the other thoughts, then the book isn't all that good, and so I'll set it down.

I think of it like an operating system.  There are a bunch of programs running in the background.  There's the "don't shit your pants" program and the "keep your finger out of your nose" program and the "mouth closed while chewing" program, and most of the time these programs leak into my consciousness, unless that consciousness is fully engaged in something.
Notice is turned in! 35 days until FIRE!  I am excited and at the same time terrified!
Don't burn your bridges folks. 4 days prior to the date lost my home and rental property to Hurricane Harvey.  Still workin' Never quittin'

shelivesthedream

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2802
  • Location: London, UK
Re: How it feels to be blind in your mind
« Reply #47 on: July 11, 2016, 01:26:16 PM »
Every so often something arrives in my life as a colossal revelation which breaks apart everything I thought I knew about how other people experience the world and it takes me days to get over it. I remember as a child the horror and fascination of it really coming home to me that French people think in their heads in French. I feel like my world has shattered and I will have to work out how to stick it back together. Other people are just SO complicated and weird!

I have a very extroverted (for lack of a better descriptor) friend and we both had a moment of revelation a while ago. I realised that he really does just say things as soon as they pop into his head without considering them first, and so I should not view his words as weighty or consequential because he doesn't. He realised that when he asks a question and I don't answer immediately, it's just because I'm thinking and want to be sure of my answer (positive or negative!), and not because I'm trying to make up a nice way to tell him his idea is terrible. It was earth-shattering for each of us, and he still teases me: "Just thinking?" "Yep, just thinking!"

I find it hard to picture things in my head unless I am alone, and then I generally find it easy and pleasant. I think this is because I am one of life's monotaskers and easily overwhelmed by sensory input, particularly from people. I enjoy trying out different pictures in my head, like different outfits or things we might have for dinner. However, I cannot picture faces very well at all. You'd think I'd know what my husband looks like but he's been away for a few days and now I cannot picture him at all. I could describe his appearance in factual terms (brown hair, glasses, etc) but I cannot summon up a mental picture at all. And when I dream, I don't dream faces. I might be dreaming about being at work with some colleagues but it's like my dream focus is about a foot below their heads so while I know they have faces, all I really get a proper sense of are their bodies and clothes.

All this is so... strange. Trying to imagine what it must be like to have someone else's imagination. Like trying to feel what it must be like to have someone else's feelings. Like a fundamental inter-human epistemic distance.

GuitarStv

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 10041
  • Age: 36
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Re: How it feels to be blind in your mind
« Reply #48 on: July 11, 2016, 01:38:49 PM »
The strangest part for me to read was the part about not being able to hear music in your head.  Learning a piece of music without being able to hear it in your head first would be incredibly difficult.

Mississippi Mudstache

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1638
  • Age: 34
  • Location: Danielsville, GA
    • A Riving Home - Ramblings of a Recusant Woodworker
Re: How it feels to be blind in your mind
« Reply #49 on: July 11, 2016, 01:45:23 PM »
You'd think I'd know what my husband looks like but he's been away for a few days and now I cannot picture him at all. I could describe his appearance in factual terms (brown hair, glasses, etc) but I cannot summon up a mental picture at all. And when I dream, I don't dream faces. I might be dreaming about being at work with some colleagues but it's like my dream focus is about a foot below their heads so while I know they have faces, all I really get a proper sense of are their bodies and clothes.

Whoa, that's hard for me to imagine (haha). I was aware of antaphasia and prosopagnosia, but it seems bizarre to be able to form mental images at will, and to be able to recognize people by their faces, but to be unable to form mental images of familiar people's faces. I can form a mental image of practically any acquaintance without any effort. Even people from the arbitrarily distant past. Like first-grade classmates that I haven't seen or spoken to since. It's hard for me to even think of someone as an acquaintance without having a mental image of their face to go with it. It's a bit unsettling to imagine what it might be like to be suddenly placed into someone else's mind.
Never. Give up.

My Woodworking Blog