Preliminary Results

We have some of the first results from our aphantasia survey! It’s pretty exciting, but definitely just the start.

Our survey is slightly adapted version of the one created by Dr. Zeman at the University of Exeter, who has been researching the condition and coined the term “aphantasia”. We wanted to have a look at the prevalence of aphantasia with a larger sample size and used various social media networks to get people to fill in our survey.

Defining ‘aphantasia’ as having a score less than 30, we see approximately 4.3% prevalence, higher than the previous estimates of 2-3%. Our distribution looks similar to the one produced by Dr. Zeman with the exception of the last two bars in our graph (>70), where we have found a higher prevalence of people with “hyperphantasia”, or extreme vividness, but we believe this is due to how our participants were selected – largely from Universities and visual arts schools, which would enrich for the ability. Here’s an Interactive Graph of the results.

To find out more, we need more responses. Assuming the prevalence score is correct: to find out if sex is relevant, we would need 64 cases which means surveying at least 1,423 people, and to look into if age has an effect we would need 224 cases and would need to survey at least 4979 people! So get sharing and help us out! If you haven’t done it yet, here’s our survey. PS it’s also available in French!

If you have any suggestions or want to get in touch, send us an email at aphantasia@sanger.ac.uk.

The calculations done here and more can be found in our report.

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