What Is Aphantasia, And Why Does It Not Need Treatment?


Not everyone has heard of such a phenomenon as aphantasia. However, this has become much talked about lately as more people begin diagnosing their lack of fantasy. Anyone can conduct an aphantasia test while reading this article.

How To Pass The Aphantasia Test?

If you want to take the aphantasia test, all you have to do is close your eyes and try to imagine any geometric shape in any color, such as a blue rectangle. If you succeed, then there is no problem. If you fail, then you have aphantasia.

As you can see, to diagnose such a phenomenon in yourself, you do not need to go to the hospital or a specialist. This test can be carried out anywhere and at any time convenient. It is essential that you are focused on this process and not be distracted by anything.

What Is Aphantasia?

If you have taken an aphantasia test and got an unexpected result, this is not a reason to panic. Scientists have not yet conducted a global study, but some calculations show that about 2% of people on the planet have this feature.

This phenomenon was first described by Francis Galton (a close relative of Charles Darwin) in 1880. He noticed that some of his servants couldn’t imagine what they had for breakfast. Then he conducted a small study in which 100 people were involved. Galton showed his work to colleagues, who said that it was a waste of time and more significant problems in the world, and then he stopped working in this direction.

Scientists returned to this phenomenon only in the early 2000s. So, a man who had previously actively fantasized but after the operation, lost this ability, turned to Professor Adam Zeman. In 2010, Zeman described this case in an article, after which several more people contacted him with the same problem.

By 2015, Zeman was able to create a reasonably large study in which he first used the term aphantasia, where “a” means “absence” and “phantasia” is imagination. After the publication of this phenomenon, scientists worldwide started talking, and they began actively investigating it.

Since the phenomenon of aphantasia began to be actively investigated relatively recently, it cannot be said that there is already a complete understanding of what it is and why it appears; however, some success has already been achieved.

So, scientists are sure that aphantasia is not a disease. They conducted many tests, checked the brain’s work in people with this feature, and found no abnormalities. They concluded that this is not a disease but instead just such a unique feature that does not need treatment.

Why Does Aphantasia Appear?

There are three main causes of aphantasia:

  • Congenital;
  • Acquired as a result of the operation;
  • Acquired as a result of severe stress.

Sometimes the body uses this as a defense mechanism after a lot of stress.

What Should You Do If You Have Aphantasia?

If you have identified aphantasia in yourself, this is not a reason to panic. You do not need to run to the hospital or contact your doctor. Try to perceive it as your unusual features, such as fiery red hair or blue eyes.

Since this is not a disease nor a sign of illness, you do not need to resort to medical treatment. So far, not a single case has been recorded when a person ultimately got rid of this feature. However, scientists have developed a training system that teaches people with congenital aphantasia to imagine pictures while falling asleep. It is noted that people with this feature see more vivid dreams.

If you want to eliminate aphantasia, don’t expect great results in the next few months. All workouts must be consistent. A good solution would be to read more fiction, look at paintings and travel more in search of beautiful views and architectural works. It aims to activate the cerebral cortex responsible for the imagination.


Since there has not yet been an extensive study of this phenomenon, it isn’t easy to assess how global this phenomenon can be. But, if you passed the aphantasia test and got an unexpected result, you can brag about it to your friends as an exciting feature.

What Is Aphantasia, And Why Does It Not Need Treatment?

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