Like a lot of us, Hümeyra had never really thought other people saw — or, in this case, didn't see — things differently. “Whenever someone said, 'Imagine a sunset', I couldn't visualize it, and I thought nobody could see it.”
In her video, she shared a simple visualization test. All you have to do is close your eyes and try to imagine a red star, then compare what you saw in your mind to the chart.
When taking the star test herself, Hümeyra said what she saw ranged between 1 and 3. “When I try to imagine a star, I can barely see the outlines.”
I tried the test myself, and what I imagined was almost exactly #6, but also...not? I could ~see~ it but I couldn't SEE it? The video made its way around Twitter, too, and people seemed to be just as confused as I was:
Well, I decided to do a little extra research, and here's what I learned. It's estimated that about 1 in 50 people have aphantasia. Sometimes people are born with it, but it can also come about after a stroke or surgery.
And while the star test is no medical diagnosis, it's a good exercise in seeing how strong your ability to visualize is! Adam Zeman — the neurologist responsible for a lot of what we know about aphantasia — created a questionnaire to test your "mind's eye" by visualizing a scene and answering questions about how vivid the things you see are.
All in all, there hasn't been a whole lot of research about aphantasia. Zeman told CNBC that he sees it more as a "variation in human experience" than as a neurological condition.
As for Hümeyra, she hopes her video is an eye-opener for other people like her, saying, “I hope everyone realizes that every person is individually unique. Everyone is different.”
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