“Aphantasia” – Not Seeing Images with Your Mind’s Eye

Sep 1, 2015 | Dyslexia Training

Have you ever heard of the term ‘aphantasia’, from the Greek words ‘a’, meaning ‘without’, and ‘phantasia’, meaning the capacity to form images.  There are people who lack the ability to see with their mind’s eye. Read the interesting article in the Exeter Blog. I have had dyslexic clients like that, but more often than not they used to have a very vivid imagination and they either deliberately or ‘accidentally’ shut it down. By that I mean that often daydreaming is not an activity that is encouraged by teachers or parents and in some cases, it can cause a child to shut off these visuals or trips with their mind’s eye in order to comply or make others happy. But does it help them? Will it make their learning any easier?

I have found that most of them were able to get their images back, but it took some time and effort – which was well worth it – and they have gone forward in leaps and bounds because of it.

There are other clients whose images are so fast that they would say they cannot visualize, being unable to perceive their visuals at the speed they run… just another perspective – and I am sure there are many explanations and theories out there. Do you have one? 

Here is the link to the article.


  1. Leilani Guerrero-Guarin

    Is there a cure for aphantasia? I’m 41 years old and didn’t know until someone posted about it on FAcebook today. I’ve always thought people were just exaggerating when they say that they can imagine or visualise things.

    • Barbara Hoi

      Hi Leilani, That is a good question. I believe that depends on the reason for not being able to see in pictures.
      Sometimes people can visualize (e.g. when I ask them to describe their place to me, while they are not there, they give me very detailed images of what it looks like) yet they don’t realize what they are doing is visualizing – and others tell me that all they see is black. What is it like for you? Can you remember a time in your life when you did have a great imagination and could make up or describe images from memory?


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