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Hyperphantasia, Phantasia,  Hypophantasia & Aphantasia

This phenomenon is a normal variation of human experience, not a deficit that needs fixing; while it may be distressing to not being able to visualize things, there is nothing to suggest that it hinders success in life!

Kendra Cherry, MSEd

Image Credit: BBC Aphantasia Network.


Aphantasia is the phenomenon in which people are unable to conjure up an image in their mind.


It affects an estimated 1-3% of the population and is considered rare.


People with Aphantasia have no “Mind’s Eye” essentially their imagination is blind.

Is there a link to Autism?

Some evidence suggests that people with Aphantasia may also be more likely to be autistic or have autistic traits like different social skills & decrease in imagination due to their need for logic. It is not a mental illness but may represent a variation in cognitive processing & experience.

How does Aphantasia affect memory ?

Looking back at a memory would normally be like replaying a video in your mind but for someone with Aphantasia memories of an event is more like a list of facts. The exact nature of and impact of the condition is not clear but it is thought Aphantasia does have a negative impact on memory.


Hyperphantasia - Some people can form crystal clear images capturing complex details such as the design of the book cover, colour, font, words & pictures.


Linked to enhanced critical thinking & problem solving skills.


Can also be linked to heightened interception & anxiety, probably due to an increased need for predictability.


May take longer to process due to the vivid detail when recalled.


More common than Aphantasia.

Hyperphantasia is mostly linked to sight describing someone's ability to view images but it can also be applied to other senses such as audio, smell, touch & taste!



Some can form a solid mental image but with less detail as Hyperphantasia.



Some will only be able to form a basic mental picture showing only details that explicitly stuck out to them.

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