I think I have aphantasia problem or short term memory problem


In Zeman’s original paper,[4] the Vividness of Visual Imagery Questionnaire (VVIQ) is used to evaluate the quality of the mental image of 21 self-diagnosed and self-selected participants. This questionnaire invites the person to visualize a series of images (a relative, a rising sun, a shop they know, etc.) and rank how vivid the image is, from “perfectly clear and lively as real seeing” (5 points) to “no image at all, you only know that you are thinking of the object” (1 point). A total of 20 or less across 16 questions qualifies as aphantasia.[17]
Aphantasia - Wikipedia

You have aphantasia.


Does it correlate with faceblindness, do you know?

Is there a word for the opposite? Making intricate mental images?
(That’s been me, since childhood… I could close my eyes and walk through my friends’ houses).

By the way, there’s no correlation between mental images and intelligence, is there? My wife’s smarter than I am, but it took a decade or so until I found out that she doesn’t make mental images.

It was on a trip in a foreign city, and I said “We’ll need to go down this way until we can find a bridge to cross back over the river.” She was confused: “But we haven’t been down there, how would you know we have to go there? … Wait, the whole time we’ve been walking, you’ve been making a map in your head? Why would you do that?” “Ha, I can’t not do it.” “Well, don’t ask me to, I could never do it.”

It seems plausible, but I have no idea. I don’t think I am faceblind, so extrapolating from that single datapoint, as one does …

I don’t qualify, according to an online test I took, as faceblind, but in practice, I think I’m face-recognition impaired. I’ve noticed, too, that I seem to see resemblances that other people don’t. I think I pick up on facial characteristics that others don’t when I try to make matches.

And, I do seem to have face-specific aphantasia. I cannot close my eyes and accurately picture a face – even for close family members.

But, I can generally visualize all kinds of things. I can picture where to find things in the grocery store I shop at, or what I see from the driver’s seat in my car.

Likewise, imaginary things. If you said, picture a train, and then asked me to describe it, I could tell you details about my imagined train.

I haven’t been diagnosed, and I tend to say I’m partially faceblind. I can see faces when I’m looking at them, but the minute I look away they’re gone. I can easily have no idea two or three minutes later what the person looks like who I was just talking to for twenty minutes. And a lot of people do indeed look alike to me who don’t look alike to most people. But I do learn to recognize a few people, even if seen out of context – I have no idea why I can recognize those and not others, including others I may have seen quite a bit more of. And the one time I took an online test, it came up, I forget the terminology, as impaired but not massively – though I think I may have distinguished some of the pictures by cues other than faces which I wasn’t sure the people who designed the test realized were there, I don’t now remember the details of why I thought this.

Yes, I know where things are in the grocery, and if you asked me to make up details about an imagined train I could do that. But I’m not seeing the train, or the items in the grocery. – I almost am seeing a train now; but it’s nothing remotely like closing my eyes and seeing a train as if I were looking at one; and it’s actually easier because it’s an imagined train – I can make it, say, silver in my imagination, but I don’t have a clear idea of what colors are on the trains I actually do see in the area. I think some of the cars are red? but am not sure.

The train’s more like – I have an idea in my head of what a unicorn looks like, which is good enough that when I look at peoples’ artwork of unicorns I often think ‘that’s not right, they wouldn’t look like that at all’ or ‘that’s almost what one would look like’ – but even if I could draw really well, I couldn’t draw the unicorn in my head. Because it’s not really a visual picture; it’s some other sense of what a unicorn is (or would be, if there were any), which I can’t really explain. It’s idealized. The train in my head is idealized.

And which grocery shelf is more of an orientation thing – like knowing that a particular passage in a book was about halfway down the lefthand page about a third of the way through. I’m not seeing the passage in front of my eyes when I do that. I’m not seeing the grocery shelf, or the store as a whole, in front of my eyes when I’m doing that. It’s the same sense of where I am that lets me walk down my familiar hallway in the dark.

It is fascinating how differently people’s minds work.

Yeah. It is fascinating.

I don’t have a photographic memory. I can’t call up a picture of a grocery store aisle and, say, read off the brand names in their precise locations. But I do have a very clear image in my mind of many of the aisles, so that if I’m thinking about explaining to someone where the hamburger buns are, I can “see” just where they are, and the image in my mind reminds me that just past them is the store bakery’s doughnut case.

If I’m trying to picture a train, then parts of it are a little unclear, like the exact color of the locomotive. But I can “see” lots of different kinds of freight cars that I can “see” making up the train. But, that is not exactly a remembered train, and not exactly an idealized train. I can’t remember exactly what cars were on a train I’ve seen, and their exact order. But, I can visualize exactly the kinds of cars and kinds of trains we see around here, so I can call up in my mind a pretty specific, I guess, type of train, and imagine it sitting on the tracks kind of like I was looking at it.

Another form of this concept that fascinates me is when I found out that not everyone “hears” in their head what they are reading. I can force myself to read in a more visual way, but my comprehension suffers and I dislike it. I read as if I were reading aloud, but I only hear it in my head. It limits my reading speed, because it “sounds” funny/bad if I read too fast.

I’m reminded that St. Augustine found it remarkable that Ambrose, Bishop of Milan, read silently, without even moving his mouth. One explanation is that, at that time, practically everyone experienced written language by literally pronouncing it with their mouths – even if not making the sounds.

I don’t have aphantasia but I have some face blindness (I took the Cambridge Face Memory Test and got 40-something percent) so, in my case, there is no relationship.

And I have aphantasia and scored 90%.

I remember watching the first Harry Potter film and my friend, who was a huge fan, was complaining that the characters weren’t how she imagined them to be. I couldn’t understand what she meant because, in my mind, they had never been images at all, just concepts.

That may be a good indication – not imagining characters and events as you read.

When I read a book I see everything that’s happening. Not as clearly as a video, but with more of a dreamlike quality.

There have been times when I was so immersed in a book that I wasn’t aware of the pages or print, or reaching the end of chapters. I was ‘watching’ and ‘hearing’ everything happening in my mind’s eye, without consciously reading the words.

The idealized train that pops up in my head if I’m asked to imagine one doesn’t, I think, look very much like the actual trains which I see around here. It’s more Concept of Train, I think – very sleek and shiny and streamlined and silvery locomotive, seen in the far distance.

I find myself suddenly wondering if Plato had aphantasia, and thought idealized forms were more important than actual examples because he had trouble getting the actual examples into his head? It doesn’t work that way for me, though; the concept that imagined forms are somehow more real than actual things has always seemed absurd to me.

Yes, I think for a long time after the invention of writing language was still thought of as being basically oral, with the written version being only a way to get to the oral. Our current society seems to often think of the written as being primary – written sources are taken as more authoritative, phrasings that are generally written are taken as being more ‘proper [English or whatever]’ than phrasings that are generally used orally but not in writing, and so on. Which is actually pretty odd; especially now that we have sound recordings so that oral language is no longer essentially more ephemeral than written language.


I don’t read like that; when I “fall into” a book I’m still reading the words, and may have very little sense of what the characters’ voices sound like (though I do still need a mental pronunciation of the words) or what most of them look like.

But I do have a lot of problem seeing movies if I’ve previously read the books; because I nevertheless have a strong sense of what the characters are like, and when the movie doesn’t match (as it often doesn’t) that throws me right out of the story. – I have the same problem when significant plot points are way off, though, so it may be that I’m thinking of the characters in the same way as I do plot points? But maybe not, because I can follow the same characters through different books with different plots, and be interested in the specific people even when they’re in different circumstances doing different things – so long as I can readily imagine those specific people doing those things.

This a myth.

From Prof. James O’Donnell, one of the world’s leading experts on St. Augustine:

Concisely: few would argue that silent reading was the norm or common in antiquity, but it is certainly well documented that it existed and was practiced.

Augustine’s ‘surprise’ (that’s a little strong for what’s in the text) is better explained for a theological point he wanted to make – that this reader read to himself and not to others. Assumes a norm of reading aloud, to be sure.

Date at which reading silently became common: much later, debated. Paul Saenger’s Space Between Words the most concerted attempt to answer the question and the thing to read, in any event, if you want to see the evidence and think it through for yourself.

Paul Saenger’s book makes the point that if you are reading a text that does not have spaces between the words, it’s difficult to decipher without reading aloud, or at least moving your lips. Not impossible, just difficult. He dates the beginning of common silent reading from the late 7th century when Irish monks began writing with spaces between words.

Prof. O’Donnell added on another forum in 2014:

This thread has me thinking about the persistence of error. Almost the first thing I ever wrote to an e-mail list of any kind 25 years ago was a debunking of the no-silent-reading theory, which one might have thought unnecessary after Bernard Knox, then already twenty years earlier. My Augustine commentary of 1992, not an especially obscure work of learning on the Confessions, makes the point very clear for any one who consults it. The later work of Saenger and, as others here have pointed out, especially the marvelous William Johnson, takes the captured city of error and pulverizes it into dust with massive artillery. This is scholarly progress of a handsome kind. We know something we didn’t know a hundred years ago. Truth wins, error loses. Victory dance in the end zone.

And yet that one moment in the Confessions and the glib interpretation of its purport remains tenaciously in mind for many, the story keeps cropping up, and about every two or three years I have to go around somewhere and step on it again. I wonder what, if anything, will ever make it go away.

For Plato, ‘forms’ are not imagined by any individual. They exist outside space and time, regardless of any physical manifestation or human perception.

Yes, I know. But he got that concept of forms from somewhere.

So…how old were you when you were diagnosed with ADHD? It’s not strongly linked to aphantasia, I honestly think because no one’s thought to study it yet, but your memory issue is extremely common to ADHD, and one of the reasons why NT people find us hard to deal with: they don’t grasp that people with executive functioning disorders almost always have an impaired short term memory, but often have okay long term memory so those things that are calm and factual are remembered just fine, while what we were told, what we did etc are hazy at best and they think we’re having them on by saying we have “poor memories” and assume it’s an excuse or lie to cover why we forgot to do x/y/z. I say my biographical memories have no timestamps.

Anyway, I was 22, almost 23 when I learned that people saying they pictured things they read was not a figure of speech. If it wasn’t for people saying that reading Harry Potter made kids use their imagination and finally having someone explain that this statement was literal, I might still not know.

I dream in pictures. If I concentrate I can picture very familiar things, people, and places.

But I have almost no ability to picture something I’ve never seen before. I don’t picture anything at all when I read, so I never have the sense that a character in a show or movie that was adapted from a book looks “just like I imagined,” though I will protest that so and so is a redhead or has blue eyes or is 25 according to the book and the actor does not/is not.

I usually have a lot of difficulty understanding what’s going on when I’m listening to a ballgame or hockey game on the radio or an audiobook describing a battle scene.

And the funniest thing to me is that I write fiction, and I’ve had people say they pictured this scene or that in one of my stories happening in their mind’s eye like a movie - and I don’t picture anything the vast majority of the time when I write, either.

word association games is what words are closing related. A mouse and keyboard are both peripherals you hook up to your computer. And sucks and shoes are both things you put on your feet. To drive you need keys and is related and leash is useless with out dog going for a walk. It rains out side you need a umbrella so is related.

Well looking at the answers like dog , leash, sun, sunglasses, key, car, umbrella, rain, beach, water, toothbrush, toothpaste, mouse, keyboard, ball, bat so on. It makes sense.

The problem is if I did not see the answer and some one ask me what is word association of say ball by brain goes blank or say some one ask me what is word association of key. Or some one ask me what is word association of toothbrush my brain goes blank.

If I look up the answers it makes sense and I feel I should have got it with out doing much thinking at all.

We all think that when we look up the answers and that is when it is in our native or first language! Maybe only judge yourself by games in your first language.

Well, in fairness, you will find this is true of people who can visualize things, too. I can visualize just fine but I won’t go to the store without a list.

It used to be I had trouble remembering names, now I seem to forget words.

Other memory word game problem I have is memory word recall by sound of the letter.

What words start with the Letter L my brain goes blank

What words start with letter A

I feel my brain should not go blank. I feel I should be able to give some examples easy with out looking it up.

So if it say what what words start with Letter L example Lizard, Log, Lebel, Liquid, Lion, lava, letter so on.

What words start with letter A example Ant, Apple, ape, amazon , axe , ace so on.

What words start with letter B example boat, box, bike, books, bear, bat so on.

My brain should not go blank. I should not have look up the answers.

This is the thing that people do in first and second grade in school.

So I don’t know if it is english problem, dyslexia or some kind of memory problem.