Imagine Not Seeing Images In Your Dreams-Is That You Ep 724

A pair of eyes with fragmented memories floating around, symbolizing the unique recall abilities of individuals with aphantasia. Dive into neurodiversity: Learn how our brains differ.

📝 Author: Hilary

📅 Published:

💬 3441 words ▪️ ⏳ Reading Time 18 min

📥 Download MP3 & PDF 12.9 Mb ▪️ 👓 Read Transcript ▪️ 🎧 Listen to Lesson

English Fluency: Are You Part of the 1-3% With Aphantasia?

Missing Pictures in Your Mind? Can't Visualize? You're Not Alone! Today we learn something new about your mind while learning English! It's time for you to join us in a unique English language lesson on aphantasia and neurodiversity. Perfect for EVERY English learner level: Beginner 🌱, Intermediate 🌳, Advanced 🌲.

  • 📚 Learn vocabulary and phrases that open new worlds.
  • 💬 Enhance your conversation, listening, and grammar skills.
  • 🧠 Explore the fascinating world of visual imagination (or the lack of it!).
  • 🎨 Boost creativity and learn how neurodiversity enriches art and life.
  • 📈 Aim for fluency with tips tailored to your unique brain function.

✔Lesson transcript:

Logic will get you from A to Z; imagination will get you everywhere.
⭐ Albert Einstein

In this lesson, you dive into the fascinating condition of aphantasia and neurodiversity, expanding your English vocabulary on imagination and the brain's unique ways of working.

You learn not just English, but also about different mind experiences, enriching both your language skills and your understanding of human diversity.

Imagination is the only weapon in the war against reality.
⭐ Lewis Carroll

Join us on Adept English, where every lesson brings you closer to fluency. Subscribe and start your journey to speak English like a native. Transform your English and embrace your unique mind. Start today!

More About This Lesson

Welcome to a unique English lesson! Today, we're exploring the world of aphantasia and celebrating how different our brains can be. This lesson isn't just about learning English; it's about understanding the amazing ways we think and imagine. Ready to explore and boost your English skills in a fun way?

Do not quench your inspiration and your imagination; do not become the slave of your model.
⭐ Vincent van Gogh

In this lesson, you'll gain a lot:

  1. Expands vocabulary on neurodiversity and imagination.
  2. Enhances listening skills with diverse topics.
  3. Introduces complex concepts in simple English.
  4. Encourages visualization practice.
  5. Offers insight into different mind workings.
  6. Promotes understanding of personal experiences.
  7. Encourages empathy through learning variations in perception.
  8. Improves descriptive language abilities.
  9. Aids in grasping abstract concepts.
  10. Motivates repeat listening for better retention.
You can't use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.
⭐ Maya Angelou

We'll help you expand your vocabulary, learn about the brain's imagination, and discover how embracing neurodiversity can make learning English even more exciting.

Benefits of our listen & learn approach to learning

This lesson is perfect for you if you're curious about the human mind and love learning English through interesting topics. You'll see how famous figures and everyday people with aphantasia achieve great things, proving creativity comes in many forms. Plus, you'll learn how our brains can dream in images, even if we can't visualize while awake. These insights make language learning more engaging and show how embracing our differences can lead to success.

  • Understanding Aphantasia: Learn what it's like when someone can't visualize images in their mind.
  • Embracing Neurodiversity: Find out why different ways of thinking are something to celebrate.
  • Learning Without Limits: Discover how not visualizing images doesn't hold back your learning or creativity.
  • Inclusive Learning: See how diverse experiences enrich our understanding of language and each other.

Don't miss out on making your English learning journey exciting and inclusive! Subscribe to Adept English today and start exploring the wonders of language and the human mind. Let's learn and grow together, celebrating every step towards fluency in English.

Frequently Asked Questions About Learning British English and Aphantasia

Embark on a journey into the vibrant world of language, where the exploration of aphantasia illuminates the rich tapestry of neurodiversity, akin to navigating a kaleidoscopic maze where every turn reveals a new hue of understanding.

  1. What is aphantasia, and how does it affect learning English? Aphantasia is a condition where a person cannot visualize images in their mind. People with aphantasia might find it challenging to imagine things visually, but this doesn't hinder their ability to learn English. They can still understand and use descriptive language effectively, often excelling in using words instead of pictures. This condition showcases the beauty of neurodiversity and highlights that everyone's brain works differently, adapting uniquely to language learning.
  2. Can people with aphantasia still improve their English listening skills? Absolutely! People with aphantasia can enhance their English listening skills just like anyone else. Adept English's approach, focusing on immersion and listening practice, suits learners with all kinds of learning styles. By regularly listening to English audio, individuals with aphantasia can improve their understanding and fluency, illustrating that visual imagination is not a prerequisite for language acquisition.
  3. How does neurodiversity impact language learning? Neurodiversity, the concept that every brain operates distinctly, positively influences language learning by offering diverse perspectives and approaches. Learners might use different strategies based on their unique brain functions, such as focusing more on auditory or kinesthetic learning methods. Embracing neurodiversity in language learning encourages inclusive practices that cater to a wide range of learning preferences, enriching the learning experience for everyone.
  4. What strategies can English learners with aphantasia use to improve their vocabulary? English learners with aphantasia can enhance their vocabulary by engaging with the language in context through listening and reading. Since they might not visualize words as images, focusing on the usage of new vocabulary in sentences and real-life scenarios can be very effective. Additionally, practicing language output through speaking and writing helps reinforce new words and phrases, proving that there are many pathways to language mastery beyond visual imagination.
  5. How can understanding aphantasia help English teachers and learners? Recognizing aphantasia helps English teachers create more inclusive and effective teaching methods that accommodate various learning styles. For learners, understanding that aphantasia is just one of many neurodiverse conditions can encourage a more personalized approach to language learning. By exploring and adapting different strategies, teachers and learners can work together towards achieving English fluency, demonstrating that language learning is a uniquely personal journey for everyone.

Most Unusual Words:

  • Aphantasia: The condition of not being able to create images in your mind.
  • Neurodiversity: The idea that people's brains work in different ways.
  • Visualise: To make an image in your mind.
  • Psychotherapist: A person who helps people deal with their mind and emotions.
  • Phenomenon: Something that happens or exists, especially something unusual.
  • Synaesthesia: A condition where one kind of sense triggers another kind of sense, like seeing colors when you hear music.
  • Meditate: To spend time in quiet thought for relaxation or religious purposes.
  • Mindfulness: Paying full attention to the present moment.
  • Variant: A different version of something.
  • Adapt: To change your behaviour so that it is easier to live in a particular place or situation.

Most Frequently Used Words:


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Transcript: Imagine Not Seeing Images In Your Dreams-Is That You

How does your imagination work? Learn about Aphantasia

Hi there. Today let’s learn how individuals with a condition called ‘aphantasia’ cannot see images in their minds. And how their imagination works in a different way. We are now starting to understand something called ‘neurodiversity’ - that’s the idea that all of our brains work a little bit differently. And this notion of ‘neurodiversity’ is gaining popularity. Welcome to today’s topic - ‘aphantasia’ and the world of non-visual imagination. The verb ‘to imagine’, IMAGINE means ‘to form an idea in your head of a thing or an event that may come into being’. And ‘imagination’ is just the noun to go with that. Most people ‘imagine’ with pictures, with images - and for this we use the verb ‘to visualise’, VISUALISE.

So today I’m talking about the 1-3% of people who just don’t see pictures in their heads. Are you one of them? Let’s find out. This podcast is rich in describing words for our internal experience and gives you something interesting to listen to, while doing your English language listening practice. Some great English vocabulary here! And if you stay until the end, I’ll share with you my particular type of neurodiversity - I’ll talk about how my brain works differently from most other peoples’!

Hello, I’m Hilary, and you’re listening to Adept English. We will help you to speak English fluently. All you have to do is listen. So start listening now and find out how it works.

How good are you at seeing pictures in your mind?

So have you ever wondered why some of us can vividly picture an apple in our minds while others can't see anything at all? Inside your head, do you see colours, faces, and landscapes as vivid pictures or is ‘seeing something in your mind’s eye’ impossible? People who imagine, but without any images have ‘aphantasia’. Are you one of these people? In my work as a psychotherapist, through the many discussions I have, I’m aware just how differently peoples’ minds work. It’s a very different experience psychologically, inside one person from inside another person. And this is one big difference. Most people are able to visualise, able to ‘see things in their mind’s eye’, imagine things visually. But there are people who just aren’t able to do this, who don’t visualise, who don’t see images in their heads! They may imagine - but not with images. Isn’t it amazing how we just assume everyone else’s experience is like our own? But really this couldn’t be further from the truth. In today’s podcast, welcome to the world of ‘aphantasia’ - that’s the word for the condition of ‘not being able to visualise in your mind’.


A sleeping face with a dream bubble showing abstract colors and shapes instead of clear images. Boost your English with unique topics and rich vocabulary.

©️ Adept English 2024

Boost Your Learning With Adept English

Ever tried ‘the red apple test’?

Let's start with a simple experiment. Close your eyes for a moment and try to picture a red apple. Can you see its shiny surface, its crisp outline, the woody stem sticking out at the top, where the apple was attached to the tree? Can you see the apple skin? Is the image clear? Can you make it detailed? Or do you find yourself with a blank, unable to see any image at all in your head? This isn't just a trick question; it's a way of understanding how different our experience is from one another, within our own heads!

So I read an article this week in The Guardian about ‘aphantasia’, APHANTASIA. And this is one of those words which describe our experience, our personal experience, knowable only by us. So the term ‘aphantasia’ comes from the Greek word ‘phantasia’ meaning ‘imagination’. The A on the front indicates an opposite - ‘the absence of imagination’, or visual imagination at least. The Greek word ‘phantasía’ (φαντασία - ‘fan-taze-ah’) relates to our English word ‘fantasy’. And it comes from the Greek verb phainomai, (φαινομαι - ‘fey-nom-eh’) meaning ‘I appear’. And this gives us the English word ‘phenomenon’.

Now like most people, I am an extremely visual person. ‘Visual’, VISUAL - means ‘sense of vision’. And if I imagine things, I see them in my head. I can remember people’s faces - even people who died a very long time ago. For example, my father died in 1983 - but if I think of him, I can make his face appear in my mind, in great detail and with great accuracy, if I want it to. If I want to imagine a situation that’s not yet happened, my mind tends to do this through images. I can imagine sounds and smells and textures and tastes - but visual imagery is my usual way of imagining something. But what if you’re someone who cannot do visualising at all? Someone who cannot remember people’s faces or who cannot ‘picture’ things in their mind? Is this a problem for people? What is it like? And is this something that you’ve ever thought about before?

So aphantasia means ‘not being able to visualise’ - what is that like for that estimated 1-3% of people who have it?

So if you ask someone with aphantasia to describe something after the event, they may be able to remember words to describe - it could be a hotel room, a seafront in a holiday destination or someone’s face. But someone with aphantasia wouldn’t be able to make a mental image of what they’re describing or mentally ‘see’ its appearance as they speak. For some people, aphantasia affects imagination relating to other senses as well. So if I say to you ‘imagine the smell of freshly baked bread’ or ‘the smell of ground coffee’ or ‘the smell of freshly cut grass’, if you’ve experienced those smells, then you’re probably able to bring them into your imagination. And it could be the same with sounds. But according to research published recently, imagining these experiences which relate to other senses - touch, smell, hearing - also may be impossible for some people. So aphantasia can be just an absence of mental pictures or it may include sounds, smells etc. as well.

Can aphantasia boost creativity in unexpected ways?

So what’s the effect on people’s lives, if they have aphantasia? Well, most of the time, not much. For example, you might think that people with this condition would be less likely to be involved in Art or creative activities. But actually, aphantasia doesn’t seem to affect this. People with aphantasia can and do make Art. I understand this - visualising isn’t necessarily a part of making art. It’s more like ‘you know what looks right when you’ve made it’. It’s a different process, using different networks in the brain, probably. So people with aphantasia may even be attracted to visual arts because it offers a rich experience externally, which isn’t mirrored internally, inside their heads.

Is meditating harder without visual thoughts?

Generally, people with aphantasia manage life pretty much like anyone else would. Where it’s more noticeable? If you’re attempting to meditate or do Mindfulness, to relax your mind, then you may find that much of what you’re asked to do, especially if you’re using an app, like Headspace - is not going to work. You know how this goes - ‘Imagine a beach in the sunshine. It’s warm and you can smell the sea and see seagulls flying overhead. You can hear the sound of the waves’. If you have aphantasia, then parts of this may not be possible for you, even if lying on a beach like this is an experience you know well.

If someone has aphantasia, this also affects therapy perhaps. There is no point in me saying to someone with aphantasia ‘Imagine doing that presentation. Imagine the faces in the room all looking at you’. It’s not going to work if it’s a visualisation exercise and you need to find a different way. If you were witness to a crime and you had aphantasia, you would still be a credible witness. You may just remember different parts, different aspects of a situation. We talk in English about ‘neurodiversity’, NEURODIVERSITY - the idea that people’s brains work in different ways. And actually that’s what’s wonderful about the human brain - it adapts. People’s brains find others ways around. So people with aphantasia adapt. Often they’re very good at descriptive language instead. They use words instead of pictures. One of the examples in The Guardian article? ‘Can you imagine the house you grew up in?’ Well for me, that’s entirely visual, if I do that. But the example given by someone with aphantasia quoted in this article, when asked about their memory of the house they grew up in ‘I feel it physically, I physically feel the space’.

Are You Rewiring Your Brain With English?

Dreams: How do they work for those without mental images?

One thing that fascinates me about this condition, however - what is the dreaming experience of someone with aphantasia? ‘To dream’, DREAM - that’s what happens when you sleep. You might visit all sorts of places in your dreams. For me, if I dream, I might remember the feelings or the sounds. Sometimes I’ll remember words from my dreams, but most of the time for me, dreaming is visual. And when most people dream, they see things. It’s visual and hard to imagine dreaming in any other way! But actually people with aphantasia can sometimes experience vivid images while dreaming. The explanation seems to be the difference between purposefully, intentionally trying to think of an image in your head and what is thrown up automatically by the unconscious mind when we’re asleep! It’s a different mechanism in the brain!

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So it’s important to think of conditions like aphantasia - as just ‘variants’. They’re not ‘something gone wrong’ that needs treatment or ‘needs fixing’. But rather they are part of ‘neurodiversity’, simply ‘the differences in brain function between human beings’ And they’re really fascinating and many of us don’t realise they’re there!

My type of ‘neurodiversity’?

My type of ‘neurodiversity’?I’m probably rather more towards a condition called ‘Synaesthesia’ - that’s where you see colours associated with things like letters and numbers, where colours have no business being associated! That’s ‘synaesthesia’, SYNAESTHESIA. For me, the days of the week, the months of the year, numbers, letters and even sometimes words - all have particular colours! For example Monday is blue, Wednesday is purple. Weird, I know, for most people but that’s normal for me inside my head!


Don’t forget - this podcast is intended to improve your English language understanding and help you work towards fluency so don’t forget to listen to it a number of times. Happy listening!

Enough for now. Have a lovely day. Speak to you again soon. Goodbye.

Thank you so much for listening. Please help me tell others about this podcast by reviewing or rating it. And, please share it on social media. You can find more listening lessons and a free English course at



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