What Is The Aphantasia Test? Meaning and Explanation Behind The Ability
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What Is The Aphantasia Test? Meaning and Explanation Behind The Inability

Jasmyne Jeffery February 4, 2023

Often we think that our brains work the same way as everyone else’s, but that’s just not true. One of the things that set us apart is our imagination. If you want to know how your mind works then one way is by taking the aphantasia test. We won’t be surprised if you’ve not heard of it before, so we can give an explanation of its meaning and how rare the inability is.

If you think of all the different ways our brains work, you’ll send yourself into a crisis. But finding out that people can’t always do the same things as you can be a bit of a shock, especially when you presumed that everybody could. That’s where the Aphantasia quiz comes in, testing your imagination.

What Is Aphantasia? Explanation Behind Inability

Aphantasia is the inability to picture an object in your mind. For instance, if someone told you to think about an apple, you can probably see one in your mind’s eye. You can see its colour and shape without it actually being in the room.

Those with aphantasia can’t picture it in their head. Sure, they know what you’re on about, could single it out of a lineup and draw one, but they can’t use their imagination to conjure it in their heads.

The Aphantasia Network say that it is also known as “image-free thinking,” meaning they can only think in words.

To those who can see images in their mind, learning that some people can’t is baffling. However, if you’re sitting there thinking that it might apply to you, then you can take an aphantasia quiz.

How To Take An Aphantasia Test

Imagination is a spectrum. Just because you can’t visualise something as if it is actually there, including the sensory effects, doesn’t mean you have complete aphantasia.

Photo by J. Balla Photography on Unsplash

The Aphantasia Network quiz gives you the following options for each question/stimulus:

  • Perfectly clear and lively
  • Clear and lively
  • Moderately clear and lively
  • Dim and vague
  • No image at only – only knowing what the stimulus actually is

You may answer differently to each question and this will determine where on the aphantasia spectrum you are. The quiz above tells you to picture things without giving you an image beforehand. There are six stages to their aphantasia test, the last being filling in details about your demographic before being given your results.

If you want one with more visual aids then the aphantasia quiz on Imagination Spectrum does just that. Bare in mind that this test has 54 steps to it, so it may take a little longer.

How Rare Is Aphantasia?

According to Dr Ze of the University of Exeter, the inability affects about 0.7 per cent of people, making it very rare to have.

What the doctor pointed out, was that the inability shouldn’t be referred to as a condition or a disorder. Instead, he believes that “it’s an intriguing variation in human experience.”

One question that pops into everyone’s mind, visually or not, when learning about aphantasia, is whether those with the variation can dream.

Well, Times Magazine reports that 63 per cent of those who have aphantasia do dream vividly, but some have no concept of visual imagery whatsoever. As the inability is on a spectrum, this kind of result isn’t unexpected, but it is curious how some people’s imaginations come alive when they are unconscious, but switch off once they’re awake.

Now you know what it is, you can take an aphantasia test to discover whether you might have that brain variation. Though some don’t like labels, you may find it reassuring to discover that you’re not alone with your image-free thinking and that it is a recognised inability.

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Jasmyne Jeffery is a full-time Entertainment and News Writer on university-themed website Freshered and HITC, and joined the company having previously worked in a freelance role. She attended the University of South Wales where she was also a student blogger and graduated in 2022 with a first-class honours degree in English and Creative Writing. Now, she puts her creativity to use reviewing university bars, Love Island episodes and the latest apps any 18-25-year-old is using.