Exploring individual differences in neuropsychological and visuospatial working memory task performance in aphantasia

Pounder, Zoe, Jacob, Jane, Eardley, Alison F., Evans, Sam, Loveday, Catherine and Silvanto, Juha 2021. Exploring individual differences in neuropsychological and visuospatial working memory task performance in aphantasia. Journal of Vision. 21 (9) 2655. https://doi.org/10.1167/jov.21.9.2655

TitleExploring individual differences in neuropsychological and visuospatial working memory task performance in aphantasia
TypeJournal article
AuthorsPounder, Zoe, Jacob, Jane, Eardley, Alison F., Evans, Sam, Loveday, Catherine and Silvanto, Juha
Abstract

Aphantasia describes the newly-identified experience of individuals who self-report a lack of voluntary visual imagery. Individuals with aphantasia are typically identified via subjective introspection on imagery experience, a process that has been shown to be modulated by personality traits. It is also not clear whether individuals with aphantasia show broader cognitive deficits or differences within other memory domains, which may explain their self-reported lack of visual imagery. This research examines group and individual differences within individuals with aphantasia on a battery of tests: a personality scale, a range of standardised neuropsychological tests of cognitive function and two visuospatial working memory tasks. Twenty individuals with congenital aphantasia (VVIQ < 25) were identified and matched on measures of age and IQ to twenty individuals with typical imagery (VVIQ > 35). Within the personality tests, the groups differed only for agreeableness, possibly resulting from a sampling bias. Similarly, the only group differences in the neuropsychological and visuospatial cognitive tests were slower performance in a task during trials that had greater working memory load, and larger variability in response times for front/back orientations within an egocentric perspective-taking task. Nevertheless, exploratory individual differences examination of performance using multidimensional scaling (which groups participants’ performance across all measures in terms of the level of similarity or dissimilarity) identified four aphantasic subgroups, each of which exhibited differing performance. In summary, these results suggest that the personality and cognitive profile of people without imagery do not greatly differ from those with typical imagery when examined by group. However, observed group differences were apparent with increased working memory load. Subgroups of aphantasia were identified, suggesting that some aphantasic individuals may experience more specific cognitive deficits. Further research should investigate the processes adopted by these subgroups, or whether (or not) individuals with aphantasia have unconscious mental imagery.

KeywordsSensory Systems
Ophthalmology
Article number2655
JournalJournal of Vision
Journal citation21 (9)
ISSN1534-7362
Year2021
PublisherAssociation for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO)
Publisher's version
License
CC BY-NC-ND 4.0
File Access Level
Open (open metadata and files)
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1167/jov.21.9.2655
Publication dates
Published online27 Sep 2021

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Cattaneo, Z., Renzi, C., Casali, S., Silvanto, J., Vecchi, T., Papagno, C. and D'Angelo, E. 2014. Cerebellar vermis plays a causal role in visual motion discrimination. Cortex. 58, pp. 272-280. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cortex.2014.01.012

Reappraising the relationship between working memory and consciousness
Soto, D. and Silvanto, J. 2014. Reappraising the relationship between working memory and consciousness. Trends in Cognitive Sciences. 18 (10), pp. 520-525. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tics.2014.06.005

Phosphene induction by cerebellar transcranial magnetic stimulation
Renzi, C., Vecchi, T., D’ Angelo, E., Silvanto, J. and Cattaneo, Z. 2014. Phosphene induction by cerebellar transcranial magnetic stimulation. Clinical Neurophysiology. 125 (10), pp. 2132-2133. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.clinph.2014.01.031

Is primary visual cortex necessary for visual awareness?
Silvanto, J. 2014. Is primary visual cortex necessary for visual awareness? Trends in Neurosciences. 37 (11), pp. 618-619. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tins.2014.09.006

How short-term memory maintenance modulates subsequent visual after effects
Saad, E. and Silvanto, J. 2013. How short-term memory maintenance modulates subsequent visual after effects. Psychological Science. 24 (5), pp. 803-808. https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797612462140

Understanding alexithymia in female adolescents: the role of attachment style
Oskis, A., Clow, A., Hucklebridge, F., Bifulco, A., Jacobs, C. and Loveday, C. 2013. Understanding alexithymia in female adolescents: the role of attachment style . Personality and Individual Differences . 54 (1), pp. 97-102. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2012.08.023

Contrast and strength of visual memory and imagery differentially affect visual perception
Saad, E. and Silvanto, J. 2013. Contrast and strength of visual memory and imagery differentially affect visual perception. PLoS ONE. 8 (12) e84827. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0084827

An application of univariate and multivariate approaches in FMRI to quantifying the hemispheric lateralization of acoustic and linguistic processes
McGettigan, C., Evans, S., Rosen, S., Agnew, Z.K., Shah, P. and Scott, S.K. 2012. An application of univariate and multivariate approaches in FMRI to quantifying the hemispheric lateralization of acoustic and linguistic processes. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience. 24 (3), pp. 636-652. https://doi.org/10.1162/jocn_a_00161

Distinct causal mechanisms of attentional guidance by working memory and repetition priming in early visual cortex
Soto, D., Llewelyn, D. and Silvanto, J. 2012. Distinct causal mechanisms of attentional guidance by working memory and repetition priming in early visual cortex. The Journal of Neuroscience. 32 (10), pp. 3447-3452. https://doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.6243-11.2012

Diurnal patterns of salivary cortisol and DHEA in adolescent anorexia nervosa
Oskis, A., Clow, A., Thorn, L., Loveday, C. and Hucklebridge, F. 2012. Diurnal patterns of salivary cortisol and DHEA in adolescent anorexia nervosa. Stress. 15 (6), pp. 601-607. https://doi.org/10.3109/10253890.2012.661493

Differences between the diurnal patterns of salivary cortisol and DHEA in healthy female adolescents
Oskis, A., Clow, A., Thorn, L., Loveday, C. and Hucklebridge, F. 2012. Differences between the diurnal patterns of salivary cortisol and DHEA in healthy female adolescents. Stress. 15 (1), pp. 110-114. https://doi.org/10.3109/10253890.2011.582529

Differences between diurnal patterns of salivary cortisol and dehydroepiandrosterone in healthy female adolescents
Oskis, A., Clow, A., Thorn, L., Loveday, C. and Hucklebridge, F. 2012. Differences between diurnal patterns of salivary cortisol and dehydroepiandrosterone in healthy female adolescents. Stress. 15 (1), pp. 110-114. https://doi.org/10.3109/10253890.2011.582529

Working memory without consciousness
Soto, D., Mäntylä, T. and Silvanto, J. 2011. Working memory without consciousness. Current Biology. 21 (22), pp. R912-R913. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2011.09.049

Using SenseCam with an amnesic patient: Accessing inaccessible everyday memories
Loveday, C. and Conway, M.A. 2011. Using SenseCam with an amnesic patient: Accessing inaccessible everyday memories. Memory. 19 (7), pp. 697-704. https://doi.org/10.1080/09658211.2011.610803

Event-related potential evidence for the use of external coordinates in the preparation of tactile attention by the early blind
Eardley, A.F. and Van Velzen, J. 2011. Event-related potential evidence for the use of external coordinates in the preparation of tactile attention by the early blind. European Journal of Neuroscience. 33 (10), pp. 1897-1907. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1460-9568.2011.07672.x

The diurnal cortisol cycle and cognitive performance in the healthy old
Evans, P., Fredhoi, C., Loveday, C., Hucklebridge, F., Aitchison, E., Forte, D. and Clow, A. 2011. The diurnal cortisol cycle and cognitive performance in the healthy old. International Journal of Psychophysiology. 79 (3), pp. 371-377. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpsycho.2010.12.006

The diurnal cortisol cycle and cognitive performance in the healthy old
Evans, P., Fredhoi, C., Loveday, C., Hucklebridge, F., Aitchison, E., Forte, D. and Clow, A. 2011. The diurnal cortisol cycle and cognitive performance in the healthy old. International Journal of Psychophysiology. 79 (3), pp. 371-377. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpsycho.2010.12.006

Anxious attachment style and salivary cortisol dysregulation in healthy female children and adolescents
Oskis, A., Loveday, C., Hucklebridge, F., Thorn, L. and Clow, A. 2011. Anxious attachment style and salivary cortisol dysregulation in healthy female children and adolescents. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. 52 (2), pp. 111-118. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-7610.2010.02296.x

Exploring the impact of sucking sweets on flavour imagery
Eardley, A.F. and Pring, L. 2011. Exploring the impact of sucking sweets on flavour imagery. Journal of Cognitive Psychology. 23 (7), pp. 811-817. https://doi.org/10.1080/20445911.2011.572872

Categorizing Speech
Scott, S.K. and Evans, S. 2010. Categorizing Speech. Nature Neuroscience. 13 (11), pp. 1304-1306. https://doi.org/10.1038/nn1110-1304

Music as first-order and second-order conditioning in TV commercials
Alexomanolaki, M., Kennett, C. and Loveday, C. 2010. Music as first-order and second-order conditioning in TV commercials. Music and the Moving Image. 3 (2).

Diurnal patterns of salivary cortisol across the adolescent period in healthy females
Oskis, A., Loveday, C., Hucklebridge, F., Thorn, L. and Clow, A. 2009. Diurnal patterns of salivary cortisol across the adolescent period in healthy females. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 34 (3), pp. 307-316. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psyneuen.2008.09.009

Functional MRI/Event-related potential study of sensory consonance and dissonance in musicians and nonmusicians
Minati, L., Rosazza, C., D'Incerti, L., Valentini, L., Scaioli, V., Loveday, C. and Bruzzone, M.G. 2009. Functional MRI/Event-related potential study of sensory consonance and dissonance in musicians and nonmusicians. NeuroReport. 20 (1), pp. 87-92. https://doi.org/10.1097/WNR.0b013e32831af235

FMRI/ERP of musical syntax: comparison of melodies and unstructured note sequences
Minati, L., Rosazza, C., D'Incerti, L., Valentini, L., Scaioli, V., Loveday, C. and Bruzzone, M.G. 2008. FMRI/ERP of musical syntax: comparison of melodies and unstructured note sequences. NeuroReport. 19 (14), pp. 1381-1385. https://doi.org/10.1097/WNR.0b013e32830c694b

State dependency in brain stimulation studies of perception and cognition
Silvanto, J., Muggleton, N. and Walsh, V. 2008. State dependency in brain stimulation studies of perception and cognition. Trends in Cognitive Sciences. 12 (12), pp. 447-454. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tics.2008.09.004

Inducing conscious perception of colour in blindsight
Silvanto, J., Cowey, A. and Walsh, V. 2008. Inducing conscious perception of colour in blindsight. Current Biology. 18 (20), pp. R950-R951. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2008.08.016

Do ERP components triggered during attentional orienting represent supramodal attentional control?
Seiss, E., Gherri, E., Eardley, A.F. and Eimer, M. 2007. Do ERP components triggered during attentional orienting represent supramodal attentional control? Psychophysiology. 44 (6), pp. 987-990. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-8986.2007.00591.x

Altered tactile spatial attention in the early blind
Forster, B., Eardley, A.F. and Eimer, M. 2007. Altered tactile spatial attention in the early blind. Brain Research. 1131, pp. 149-154. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.brainres.2006.11.004

Using cognitive profiling to aid diagnosis and monitor or predict recovery in idiopathic normal pressure hydrocephalus
Loveday, C., Iddon, J.L., Sahakian, B.J., Best, M. and Pickard, J.D. 2007. Using cognitive profiling to aid diagnosis and monitor or predict recovery in idiopathic normal pressure hydrocephalus. Cerebrospinal Fluid Research: from 50th Annual Meeting of the Society for Research into Hydrocephalus and Spina Bifida. 3 (Supple), p. S30. https://doi.org/10.1186/1743-8454-3-S1-S30

Spatial processing, mental imagery, and creativity in individuals with and without sight
Eardley, A.F. and Pring, L. 2007. Spatial processing, mental imagery, and creativity in individuals with and without sight. European Journal of Cognitive Psychology. 19 (1), pp. 37-58. https://doi.org/10.1080/09541440600591965

Remembering the past and imagining the future: A role for nonvisual imagery in the everyday cognition of blind and sighted people
Eardley, A.F. and Pring, L. 2006. Remembering the past and imagining the future: A role for nonvisual imagery in the everyday cognition of blind and sighted people. Memory. 14 (8), pp. 925-936. https://doi.org/10.1080/09658210600859582

Assistive navigational devices that incorporate principles of spatial cognition and imagery
Edwards, G., Eardley, A.F., Malouin, F., Viger, M., Yaagoubi, R. and Lambiel, D. 2006. Assistive navigational devices that incorporate principles of spatial cognition and imagery. Cognitive Processing. 7 (Supplement 1), p. 174. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10339-006-0132-0

Challenging the importance of vision for the development of an extrinsic spatial framework: evidence from the blind and sighted
Eardley, A.F., Edwards, G., Malouin, F. and Michon, P.E. 2006. Challenging the importance of vision for the development of an extrinsic spatial framework: evidence from the blind and sighted. Cognitive Processing. 7 (Supplement 1), pp. 30-31. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10339-006-0053-y

Art beyond sight: multimodal approaches to learning
Eardley, A.F. 2006. Art beyond sight: multimodal approaches to learning. Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness. 100 (5), pp. 311-313.

Shifts of attention in the early blind: An ERP study of attentional control processes in the absence of visual spatial information
Van Velzen, J., Eardley, A.F., Forster, B. and Eimer, M. 2006. Shifts of attention in the early blind: An ERP study of attentional control processes in the absence of visual spatial information. Neuropsychologia. 44 (12), pp. 2533-2546. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2006.03.025

Do mental maps have to be seen? Evidence from the blind and sighted
Eardley, A.F., Michon, P.E., Edwards, G. and Kennedy, J.M. 2006. Do mental maps have to be seen? Evidence from the blind and sighted. 47th Annual Meeting of the Psychonomic Society. Houston, Texas 16 -19 Nov 2006

Music and memory in advertising: music as a device of implicit learning and recall
Alexomanolaki, M., Loveday, C. and Kennett, C. 2006. Music and memory in advertising: music as a device of implicit learning and recall. in: Baroni, M., Addessi, A.R., Caterina, R. and Costa, M. (ed.) 9th International Conference on Music Perception and Cognition, August 22-26 2006: Proceedings Bologna, Italy ICMPC-ESCOM. pp. 1190-1198

The neuropsychology of normal pressure hydrocephalus (NPH)
Devito, E.E., Pickard, J.D., Salmond, C.H., Iddon, J.L., Loveday, C. and Sahakian, B.J. 2005. The neuropsychology of normal pressure hydrocephalus (NPH). British Journal of Neurosurgery. 19 (3), pp. 217-224. https://doi.org/10.1080/02688690500201838

Striate cortex (V1) activity gates awareness of motion
Silvanto, J., Cowey, A., Lavie, N. and Walsh, V. 2005. Striate cortex (V1) activity gates awareness of motion. Nature Neuroscience. 8 (2), pp. 143-144. https://doi.org/10.1038/nn1379

Illuminating non-visual imagery: exploring the everyday use of sensory imagery in the blind and sighted
Eardley, A.F. and Pring, L. 2005. Illuminating non-visual imagery: exploring the everyday use of sensory imagery in the blind and sighted. Xth European Workshop on Imagery and Cognition. St Andrews, Scotland 28 - 30 Jun 2005

Matching learning styles and distance education: can this make a difference in today's problems of distance education
Margeti, M. and Loveday, C. 2004. Matching learning styles and distance education: can this make a difference in today's problems of distance education. in: Proceedings of the 21st ICDE Conference on Open Learning and Distance Education: Lifelong Learning in the Networked World, 18-21 Feb 2004, Hong Kong ICDE.

Neuropsychological profile of patients with normal pressure hydrocephalus and Alzheimer's disease
Iddon, J.L., Loveday, C., Gelling, L., Morgan, D.J.R. and Pickard, J.D. 2004. Neuropsychological profile of patients with normal pressure hydrocephalus and Alzheimer's disease. Cerebrospinal Fluid Research: from 48th Annual Meeting of the Society for Research into Hydrocephalus and Spina Bifida. 1 (Supple), p. S17. https://doi.org/10.1186/1743-8454-1-S1-S17

Creative discoveries in mental imagery: the role of spatial processing in individuals with and without sight
Eardley, A.F. and Pring, L. 2004. Creative discoveries in mental imagery: the role of spatial processing in individuals with and without sight. in: Ballesteros, S. and Heller, M.A. (ed.) Touch, blindness and neuroscience Madrid, Spain IUED.

Neuropsychological profile of young adults with spina bifida with or without hydrocephalus
Iddon, J.L., Morgan, D.J.R., Loveday, C., Sahakian, B.J. and Pickard, J.D. 2004. Neuropsychological profile of young adults with spina bifida with or without hydrocephalus. Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry. 75 (8), pp. 1112-1118. https://doi.org/10.1136/jnnp.2003.029058

Cognitive styles and their implications for effective presentation of information for children with visual impairment
Pring, L. and Eardley, A.F. 2003. Cognitive styles and their implications for effective presentation of information for children with visual impairment. in: Axel, E.S. and Levent, N.S. (ed.) Art beyond sight: a resource guide to art, creativity, and visual impairment New York, USA AFB Press.

Memory and learning in young adults with hydrocephalus and spina bifida: specific cognitive profiles
Iddon, J.L., Morgan, D.J.R., Ahmed, R., Loveday, C., Sahakian, B.J. and Pickard, J.D. 2003. Memory and learning in young adults with hydrocephalus and spina bifida: specific cognitive profiles. European Journal of Pediatric Surgery. 13 (Supplement 1), pp. S32-S35.

Imagining things you have never seen: imagery effects in individuals born totally blind
Eardley, A.F. and Pring, L. 2002. Imagining things you have never seen: imagery effects in individuals born totally blind. Proceedings of The British Psychological Society. 10 (2), p. 64.

Imagining things you’ve never seen: imagery effects in individuals born totally blind
Eardley, A.F. and Pring, L. 2002. Imagining things you’ve never seen: imagery effects in individuals born totally blind. Kitzinger Workshop. May 2002

Imagery and people with a visual impairment
Eardley, A.F. 2000. Imagery and people with a visual impairment. European Science Foundation workshop on museum learning and tactile perception: access to interpretation for people who are blind and partially sighted. Helsinki, Finland Nov 2000

Schizotypy and sensational interests
Evans, J., Eardley, A.F. and Egan, V. 1999. Schizotypy and sensational interests. IXth Biennial Meeting of the International Society for the Study of Individual Differences. Vancouver 05 - 09 Jul 1999

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