Before Coffee: Aphantasia

April 25, 2016 § Leave a comment

I found a fascinating article on aphantasia over the weekend. To save you a click (although you really should read it), it’s the inability to form mental images.

I shared the article on Facebook, which is what I do when I find something cool or fun or interesting. That led to a back and forth with a friend who, it turns out, cannot hear music in his head.

My wife is quick to point out whenever the topic comes up that I am the easiest person in the world to “earworm”—that is, I get songs stuck in my head at the drop of a note. So my friend’s inability to hear music in his head seems almost a blessing to me. But he is understandably a little freaked out to discover that he cannot do something that others take for granted.

When I was a teen, I often thought about our perception of color. If I could somehow ride piggyback on your brain and see as you see, would what looks like green to me look like green to you? Or would it look like purple or blue or orange? Have we just all been trained to call different colors “green” because someone once pointed to it and said, “that’s green”?

Probably not, but until we have that kind of technology, we can’t say for sure.

Brains are weird.



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