Aphantasia As An Unusual Phenomenon

Aphantasia As An Unusual Phenomenon

Even though science in various fields has come a long way over the past few decades, there are still many questions about how the human brain works. So, after passing the aphantasia test, many find that they are deprived of the ability to fantasize and imagine various pictures in their creation. Today we want to talk in more detail about this phenomenon.

What Is Aphantasia?

The meaning of the word aphantasia is easy enough to determine if you break it down into its components “a” means “without,” and “Phantasia” is translated as “fantasy.” So it means that the person has no fantasy.

This phenomenon was first described at the end of the 19th century by Francis Galton, a close relative of Charles Darwin. Then he noticed that not all of his servants could imagine what they ate for breakfast in their minds. Then the world scientific community reacted negatively to such a study, saying that there were more important topics for research.

Future scientists returned to this topic already at the beginning of the 20th century. So, a man who in the past had a well-developed fantasy but, after an injury, lost this ability, turned to psychiatrist Professor Adam Zeman. The specialist was interested in this case and published the corresponding article, describing it in detail. After that, Adam Zeman was approached by several people with the same feature. Scientists continued to study this phenomenon and, in 2015, gave it the name we know as aphantasia.

Recent studies show that this is not a disease. A comprehensive analysis of the brains of people with aphantasia showed that they do not have any abnormalities or diseases. Therefore, from a medical point of view, they are entirely healthy. The only thing that we managed to identify is that in people with such a phenomenon, that part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for imagination does not work so actively during the day, but it is strongly activated during sleep. As a result, people with aphantasia have more beautiful and dreamlike dreams.

Also, scientists have found that aphantasia is congenital or acquired. If you previously had a well-developed fantasy, then you can lose it after a severe injury.

How To Conduct An Aphantasia Test?

The aphantasia test can be done quite simply. To do this, you do not need to go to the hospital and do expensive research. So, you need:

  • Choose what you want to represent (it should be something simple, like any geometric shape);
  • Close your eyes;
  • Try to imagine the image you wanted.

If you succeed, then you do not have aphantasia. If not, then try again. If the second attempt did not give an accurate result, then you have this phenomenon.

Even though a global study of this phenomenon has not yet taken place, scientists believe that about 2% of the world’s population has aphantasia.

How Can Aphantasia Be Cured?

If an aphantasia test shows a positive result, it does not mean you have some disease. So, you do not need to go to the hospital, take expensive medicines, or undergo any procedures.

However, you can try some workouts to remedy this situation. Today there are no actual examples of a person completely getting rid of this phenomenon. But, there is one case where a person with congenital aphantasia learned to imagine images while falling asleep when the necessary part of the brain begins to function actively.

So, if you want to get rid of aphantasia, you should:

  • Improve the state of memory;
  • Do workouts to improve eidetic memory (even though it will be challenging);
  • Walk more in beautiful places;
  • Read more.

It is desirable that the training takes place in the evening, then the result will be more noticeable.


Aphantasia is a poorly understood phenomenon that still needs detailed learning. However, if you took the test and found out that you have such a feature, this does not mean that you have any health problems. Learn to brag about it as an unusual feature, like being green-eyed (only 2% of people on the planet have this eye color). As well, there are various training programs that can educate the mind to be more sharp and vigilant to details.