Aphantasia describes the inability to create visual mental imagery. Coming from a background in NLP (Neuro-Linguistic - Programming) I guess I always assumed everyone could make visual mental imagery. Some were just better at it then others.
So, if you can’t make visual images how do you know when you’ve found what you’re looking for? The fellow in the film is asked to picture an apple and he says all he sees is black. If he is struck with the desire to eat an apple how does he know when he’s found an apple in the fridge if he can’t visualize? Wouldn’t we need a visual mental template to compare to? How do you recognize people you know without a visual mental template to compare to? I’m wondering if in fact these people do visualize but do it at at a more unconscious level then most of us. They perhaps can’t visualize ‘on demand’ (ie: “picture an apple”) but when they desire an apple they are are working from an unconscious image of an apple that they are not aware of…like I assume I do. The only difference is that if you ask me to picture an apple I can do it.
There’s also some evidence that indicates that people with aphantasia are far less prone to PTSD, which I suppose makes sense. If you can’t visualize traumatizing imagery then you are far less likely to experience trauma. Fascinating stuff.