Aphantasia, visualisation and lucidity

I’ve only just discovered that most people can see pictures in their heads while awake! bbc.co.uk/news/health-34039054

I have no visual imagery while awake, but have vivid visual dreams and hypnagogic imagery. Are there any other lucid dreaming non-visualisers?

Also, for all you visualisers, I’d really like to know - can you imagine something, visually, while in a dream environment, as if you were awake? So, say you were dreaming that you were in a supermarket, could you then picture a blue whale in your mind’s eye, and have a visual experience of it, but without it appearing in your dream?

That’s very interesting. I first assumed that people with aphantasia would not see dream images! How about imagining sounds, for example can you play back a song you like (or anything else)?

Most I can say is visualising things in dreams is difficult. Personally I haven’t spent much time in lucid dreamland yet, but in my experience thinking (or trying to think) about external things, outside your current environment, may destabilize the dream. I also think that dream imagery comes much closer to mental imagery than waking experience does, i.e. it’s more “unified”. So when you try to use mental imagery while in a dream environment, which is hard because they will probably collide. One will try to replace the other, depending on your intention. But that’s just an explanation I created for my own experience, it’s not at all scientific, nor is it necessarily true for any other person.

Wow I scored ‘hyperphantasia’, mind=blown.

Yes. Usually it happens just like real life. However, sometimes it can get deep enough to create a parallel dream situation.

Well this explains why I’ve never had any luck with visualisation…

If I close my eyes, all I see is darkness, and occasionally swirling patterns and hypnogogic imagery - fractals, that sort of thing. But if you say ‘imagine a blue triangle’ I don’t see anything. Best way to describe it is ‘I think of a blue triangle’, or recall what a blue triangle looks like, but don’t see anything.

I know my parent’s faces. I remember standing in Shinjuku in Tokyo, I could describe it in detail… but when my eyes close there’s no visual image, just a memory.

Yes I have very vivid lucid dreams… didn’t realise this was a condition, or that other people actually ‘see’ the pictures until today. Kinda depressed now… :sad:

Wow, that’s…surprising. How can you go through life without imagining?

To answer your question: yes.

If we couldn’t visualize in dreams, it would stand out—to me, anyway. Also, I distinctly remember imagining a cluster of planets in a lucid dream, and my brain recognized them as separate from the dreamscape.

You misunderstand… there is no problem with my imagination. I just don’t ‘see’ anything when I close my eyes.

For example, you ask me to imagine riding on a dragon flying through the sky.

I have ridden a horse, so know what it is like to ride a living animal, feeling it’s muscles move.
Riding through the sky would, I imagine, cause the wind to race past you similar to riding a bicycle downhill or riding a motorbike fast. Likewise for sitting in a saddle and holding reins or handlebars, bracing against the acceleration.
As for the flying, well certain roller-coasters where you are suspended from a harness are probably the closest to that. So I remember how it felt to ride those, looping and hurtling towards the sky or ground at breakneck speed.

This builds up a verbal description based on memories and ideas. But I don’t ‘see’ anything, just the blackness behind my eyelids.

Ask me what colour is the dragon? What does the sky look like when I imagine the above? Is it sunrise or sunset? Are there clouds? Then I just pick something at random because I’m not describing a visual scene that’s going on in my head, just a set of memories and ideas.

That’s what I thought. But how can you organize concepts without a some sort of spacial layout?

Concepts have no dimension, though, so they don’t really need space. I would guess that those concepts can organize themselves in the same way as the square of 12 is 144. You could imagine writing it out in long multiplication with a visual-spatial (and maybe kinaesthetic) sense, or you can visualize twelve boxes or light bulbs in a grid, or you can remember it as a fact from school, or you just can abstractly.

I’ve woken up from some conceptual dreams. It’s only in my dream diary that “I had a very conceptual dream”, so I don’t have a wide vocabulary for abstract concepts. It doesn’t seem so far-fetched though for people to be able to dream lucidly in concepts.

I find it interesting that memory is separate from imagination. Up until then, I had guessed that faulty organic memories were the result of the imaginative function serving as the basis for recall!

Although dimension doesn’t exist in concepts, it can be useful for organization. One way this makes life easier is a multiplication table. Another is mentally traveling down a street to remember what lies on each side.

It can be hard for someone to imagine sorting information differently than how they’ve always done it.

The human experience is very diverse.

Good question. No idea. My organisation skills are also lacking, maybe that’s related somehow. :tongue: There’s no ‘layout’ for concepts, not in my head, just knowledge, facts, memories that might then trigger related thoughts and ideas.

Mental arithmetic has always been challenging for me, I can’t visualise boxes or grids or a multiplication table. I learned times tables as songs - so have to hum my way through the song in my head to work out the answer. :lol: Give me a piece of paper to write on and I’m much quicker!

The idea of being able to mentally travel down a street and see what is on each side… wow! As you say it is truly phenomenal just how diverse each individual’s experience can be.

I think I have a good visual memory and I’ve talked about my mind wandering in different visualizations before, but since it’s relevant I’ll share this again. Basically, whenever I’m thinking while doing something, there’s a chance I start unconsciously seeing a whole scene in my mind. Usually I’m wandering like a DO in it. Often I shift my attention to this visualization and move around. Specific events, people etc are tied to some location. The locations can change though, usually it’s a place I’ve seen recently. Real place or not, doesn’t matter. These visualizations make it easy for me to remember what I was doing when I saw them.

For example: (lots of examples that probably mean very little to most people that read this)

I started university around the time I joined ld4all. During many of the IRC conversations I was floating around in my uni campus in my mind. Three LCs are tied to the lobby of math department, Wyvern related chats are tied to the second floor in C building, a conversation with Ikran is tied to the cafeteria, memories of En’enra and WritersCube are tied to the outside of building A. Some memories of Thorn are tied to the uni too, but most of them are tied to my hometown, to a house my mind has decided is similar to Thorn’s home (based on his descriptions in the DJ). Christmas 2014 is tied to Facade map in CS:GO. New year 2015 and the chats in #ld4all during that night are tied to the army garrison where I spent 2012. A lot of dream related memories are tied to that garrison.

In my dreams there’s often at least a map I see parallel to the dream. Some times I can make it cover my entire vision and use it to teleport. Sometimes there’s an IRC convo in the parallel dream while I’m doing stuff in the “main” dream.

tl;dr: I visualize all the time.

Our mental models are often distorted and do not reflect reality. This can corrupt memory. It isn’t much like real life, or a dream.

Most of our memories are imperfect. The older the memory, the more you’ve had to recall it and a tiny false recollection will grow and change it. This is why we record stuff, so we don’t have to rely on memory.