What’s it like to visualize?

Ever wondered what it’s like to visualize? For most people, visualizing is second nature. They think of an apple, a sunset, or a friend, and they can “see” it in their mind’s eye.

For many years, I thought this was just a figure of speech, not a literal description of how people think.

So, how can you describe something you’ve never experienced? That’s where the fascinating afterimage apple illusion comes into play.

For those of you still searching for that elusive apple from the popular aphantasia apple meme, here’s a chance to experience something similar.

In this optical illusion, an image lingers even after you’ve looked away. To try it, focus your gaze on the center of the apple for 30 seconds. Then, shift your gaze to a blank white space and blink several times.

You should see a faint image of a red apple.

While this illusion is more about visual perception than imagination, it offers a glimpse into what visualizing might feel like.

For those with hyperphantasia, the experience is even more vivid. Some people “see” the apple “in the back of their heads,” known as associators, while others superimpose the mental image onto reality, known as projectors.

We’ll delve deeper into these distinctions in a future email.

Curious to learn more? Check out this article about the afterimage illusion.

I’d love to hear about your experiences with this afterimage illusion. Did it offer you a new perspective on visualization?