Aphantasia manifests itself in your students

Some people are incapable of creating mental images: this is called fantasy. This condition, which is still little known, nevertheless affects between 2 and 5% of the population. Impossible to detect other than by patients’ experience to date, it would actually be visible to the eye according to a study!

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It can relate to the impossibility of constructing mental images, whether immediate or in memories, or even the difficulty of recreating sounds mentally. L ‘afantasi, still unknown, affects up to 5% of the population. Introduced in 2015, the term comes from the Greek “a”, which expresses deprivation, and “fantasy”, which refers to fantasy. Among the affected people, some may partially recreate images, others visualize them in their dreams … Only a few studies have been done on the subject, especially on the detection of this neurological disorder. At present, the diagnosis is actually based on self-diagnosis: the affected people themselves understand that they are not able to generate mental images.

In a study published in the journal eLifehave researchers focused on detecting this condition by eyes. Or more specifically by the students. These, if they respond automatically to variations in lightmay also expand or contract depending on the cognitive tasks performed.

The greater your capacity for imagination, the more your pupils dilate.

For their experiment, they tested two groups of people: a control group and a group of self-reported individuals with fantasy. Each group first observed images with light and dark shapes on a gray background, and was then asked to think about them, to re-visualize them mentally. During the first step students of all participants varied in size after brightness pictures shown. But when the team asked people to imagine the same images, they found a real difference between the two groups: where the pupils of the controls always narrowed and dilated, they did not vary in the persons with the fantasy. virtually none.

“It’s harder to imagine four objects at once than to imagine just one. The pupils of people with aphasia dilated when they imagined four shapes compared to one, but did not change depending on whether the shapes were light or dark. ” they said. “Our results provide new evidence that our students respond to the liveliness and strength of a visual image held in mind. The stronger and more vivid the image, the greater the pupil’s light response.” Their discovery would then make it possible to test whether the person is suffering from fantasy or not, and this from an early age. For if fantasy does not prevent them from leading a normal life, affected individuals declare that they feel different from others.

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