Most of us think and daydream in pictures, but a survey conducted in England has revealed that about 2.5 percent of people have no visual imagination. This means that being ‘inside’ their brains is more like walking around in a newspaper than a movie.

This picture-less condition has recently been named ‘aphantasia’ (the term is easy to remember when you consider no visions of Mickey Mouse wizards could be dancing around in the minds of those afflicted). Although there’s no cure for aphantasia, those who have it seem to get along just fine since they have no idea what they’re missing. The authors of study detail though that it is unclear why people with aphantasia are unable to form mental pictures.

For the rest of us, this is yet another moment to appreciate a physiological wonder we take for granted—so take a second to recollect a fond memory! Do you have or know anybody with aphantasia? Do you think there are any hidden benefits of thinking in only words?



Science of Us: Some People Can’t Form Pictures in Their Heads