Aphantasia and Role Playing Games

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
I find this both baffling and terrifying. I see stuff in my mind even when my eyes are open.

Out of curiosity, does this extend to other senses. Those with this difference, do you not "hear" thoughts, too?
I can hear parts of songs in memory, though it takes alot of focus to separate my own internal voice out of them.
 

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Thomas Shey

Legend
How does aphantasia and spatial memory correlate? Because I have fairly good spatial awareness but outside of the rare dream, images don’t really come to my mind.

I don't know that they do. I just pretty clearly have the former and pretty bad latter (though it might have some relationship, as I'm perfectly good at orienteering, it only seems to apply when I'm trying to keep track of it in an abstract way).
 


It is interesting and thanks for all your replies. I don't hear music internally, and when a song is in my head it is my voice. So I imagine it is related.

I'm off to look at that other thread :)

Edit: so I actually have a great imagination, and can technically create lots of things. I have written half a dozen RPGs, heart breakers and totally fresh. I've made dozens of fully realized campaign worlds, and run hundreds of adventures that I made myself - mostly on the fly.
 

Edit: so I actually have a great imagination, and can technically create lots of things. I have written half a dozen RPGs, heart breakers and totally fresh. I've made dozens of fully realized campaign worlds, and run hundreds of adventures that I made myself - mostly on the fly.
I don't think there's been any research that indicates that aphantasia correlates either positively or negatively to creativity. The word "imagination" is used imprecisely a lot of the time, with "imagine an apple" really being more "visualize an apple" (or whatever other sense(s) are involved) in the OP example. The test really seems to be asking how you recall the memory of "apple" internally rather than calling on you to mentally create one from nothing. I'd expect someone who's never had any experience of what "apple" means would either draw a type 5 blank because there's nothing in memory to work with, or perhaps (if they'd be more of a type 1 visualizer with something they have experienced) they'd assemble a image based on what related memory cues "apple" does trigger - like maybe a computer, or something their brain recognizes as being phonetically similar somehow - something dappled?

"Apple" isn't a great word for testing creativity and imagination from whole cloth anyway, since it's either familiar (for most folks) or means nothing and doesn't really contain cues to suggest an expected result. If we weren't all roleplayers using "owlbear" might be a more effective choice, but most of us have some idea of what it means already. Something less defined that still gives nudge in a direction would be a better test for creative imagination - what does "octogator" suggest to you, for ex?
 

Celebrim

Legend
There is another thread going on about how important art is in the presentation of an RPG and I answered, "It's not important to me at all, and in fact it might actually be considered a hinderance rather than a help in many cases."

And I can't help but wonder whether that's because I'm just imagining all of this anyway and so the art is literally in the way most of the time, rarely living up to my imagination or inspiring me better than I would be by day dreaming.

But this is in the light of this thread very obviously a perspective. I would imagine if you are a 5 on the scale then evocative artwork along with the text of your RPG is absolutely critical to your enjoyment.
 

There is another thread going on about how important art is in the presentation of an RPG and I answered, "It's not important to me at all, and in fact it might actually be considered a hinderance rather than a help in many cases."

And I can't help but wonder whether that's because I'm just imagining all of this anyway and so the art is literally in the way most of the time, rarely living up to my imagination or inspiring me better than I would be by day dreaming.

But this is in the light of this thread very obviously a perspective. I would imagine if you are a 5 on the scale then evocative artwork along with the text of your RPG is absolutely critical to your enjoyment.
That's a very good point, I love RPG art. In fact, I wonder if I enjoy books more, where the characters are illustrated, it gives me a visual point. A lot of fantasy novels have that, on the cover, or even with tie ins
 

This past October, at 52 years old, I discovered that I have aphantasia. It explains all sorts of weird things from my life, but no one has ever accused me of having a lack of imagination. My RPG scenarios—I started gaming with the 1977 Basic boxed set—are packed with vivid visual details. I just can't really "see" them in my mind. More like I know the feelings that they are associated with. And it often takes me a long time to create everything I want in a particular scene.

I'm still quite fascinated by all of this and in a bit of shock that I could blithely sail through life without having a clue that most other people were experiencing the world differently!
 



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