Hypergraphic aphantasia vs. hyperphantasia, both are characteristically aspie?

Note: I’m getting settled in and I only have classes two days per week. Feel free to hit me up on Skype or Gmail. If it’s a bad time, I’ll say so.

Remember, I recently said that white matter acts as a heat sink for gray matter visualization ability:

As an interesting aside, the overabundance of white matter actually creates visuospatial retardation. This can be explained by an offhand observation in the neuroscience video (skip to ). If the control-freak nature of the will is shut off then most people become better at drawing. That is, the white matter actually over-rides the basic talents of the gray matter, which is to perceive and manipulate visualizations of the environment. More white matter means more micromanaging by the ego, and more visuospatial retardation.

I think the white matter thing also explains the phenomenon of high-IQ narcissists that I call megalomaniacs. Basically, these guys have an overbearing surfeit of willpower (chemical energy available to the white matter network), which adds up to excessive self-consciousness and therefore larger-than-life egos.

I gave Vox Day and Koanic as examples. But if you were to survey PZ Myers, John Scalzi, Robert Lindsay, Jerry Holkins, Julian Savelescu, and other suspected highish and high-IQ narcissists, I suspect you’d find a shockingly disproportionate representation of visuospatially retards among them.

I’ve also noticed that aspies tend to develop heavily in one direction or the other, as if there are two separate sets of rails they can get stuck on. The lower IQ thallish folks (115-130) tend heavily to the visual side, developing lots of gray matter and sometimes dyslexia. They are late bloomers and tend to have addiction problems. The higher IQ folks (130-160) tend heavily to the verbal side, developing lots of white matter and generally having a lot of inexplicable mental energy. They are early bloomers, and can be taught symbolic math and language at a very advanced speed. The rare birds who develop properly like Tex and Heaviside (160-190) seem to have both talents.

Now, I seem to be stuck somewhere in the middle these days, and it’s not because I’m in the latter group. Early NHers will remember that my visual ability used to suck. This is no longer true, and it’s actually getting to be quite good (34/40 on this self-assessment, reporting conservatively).

This score suggests that your visual imagery is more vivid than usual. Scores at the upper end of this range are suggestive of ‘hyperphantasia’: exceptionally strong powers of visualisation. About 23% of people score in this range, the highest of our five bands.

I think this is because I was knocked off the tracks and screwed up my brain when I was around 19 or 20. (Zeke will remember that I was effectively ambidextrous at this point from extreme overuse of my left hand, which might have caused some parts of my brain to develop in the wrong place. Hence, perhaps, the “unique” cognitive style. :-P) I was also blithely naive and content to stay that way, but I got myself knocked around a bit (my own damn fault, trust me) and woke up to reality out of gross necessity.

I’ve also previously speculated that what I call “System 3” (gray matter dominance with high levels of both = intuitive systems thinking, or intellectualism chasing down mystic visions) is the adult cognitive style for thals.

Just some thoughts to get the brain back up and running.

About Aeoli Pera

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8 Responses to Hypergraphic aphantasia vs. hyperphantasia, both are characteristically aspie?

  1. aufeis says:

    If the control-freak nature of the will is shut off then most people become better at drawing

    See “drawing from the right side of the brain” (there are now two in the series), and titles on “zero point” technique. I have very low drawing ability, but took a class in zero point, and strangely painted a scene from my future.

    • Aeoli Pera says:

      I think the right brain/left brain thing is at least partially responsible for the sys1 -> sys2 -> sys3 switch. Currently psych people are saying the right/left difference is overblown. I disagree. It seems that right/left refers to the which side of the prefrontal cortex we prefer for decision making (left/right=T/F in MBTI). If this flips, it completely changes our personality profile.

      • aufeis says:

        I only thought of it remembering one of the exercises, which was to recreate a drawing while looking at it upside-down (short-circuits the “control freak”) That always struck me as a useful and instructive hack.

  2. Nottuh says:

    I don’t think I have aphantasia, but I don’t really have vivid images in my head when I think about things. Dreams seem to work fine for me, and are very vivid when I experience them, though. I guess a lack of visualization ability makes me unusual for a lowish IQ Nobilid-Neanderthal type.

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