Posted by & filed under Clinical Neuropsychology, General Psychology, Neuroscience, Sensation-Perception.

Description: Do you watch horror films? If you do because you like the jumps and frights or if you don’t because you dislike the jumps and frights, then either way you are reacting or responding to that film genre the way virtually everyone does. What about written horror, such a Steven King or Edgar Allan Poe novels? I avoid them almost as assiduously as I avoid horror films, they keep me awake at night and not in the good, to enjoyable to put down, way that a mystery novel can. Where is this going? Well, if you are someone who has a string opinion about horror films but tend to avoid horror novels because they do nothing for you at all one way or the other then you may have a rare condition called Aphantasia or mind-blindness. Wonder what that is? Read the article linked below to find out.

Source: I ain’t afraid of no ghosts: People with mind-blindness not so easily spooked, Science News, ScienceDaily.

Date: March 10, 2021

Photo Credit:  Image by Alexandra ❤️A life without animals is not worth living❤️ from Pixabay

Article Link:

The impact that a novel passage can have upon is not solely cognitive, is it? If you read a passage about someone who is being snuck up on by a malevolent person or creature, we have an emotional or visceral reaction to it because we can visualize it and the mental image drives or physiological reaction to the scene that the passage involves. People with mind-blindness or Aphantasia cannot visualize mentally and so while they DO respond viscerally to a movie horror scene, they show no such reaction to written horror passages. It gives a whole different meaning to a phrase like “the movie was WAY different than the book!”

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What is Aphantasia?
  2. What role does the research suggest that mental images play in our emotional responses to written texts or novels?
  3. What are some other areas besides horror novel’s and films where we might expect to see similar response patterns in those with Aphantasia or mind-blindness?

References (Read Further):

Wicken, M., Keogh, R., & Pearson, J. (2021). The critical role of mental imagery in human emotion: insights from fear-based imagery and aphantasia. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 288(1946), 20210267. Link

Werner, M. (2010). Why Do We Crave Horror? Evolutionary Psychology and Viewer Response to Horror Films. Bright Lights Film Journal, 68. Link

Park, M. (2018). The Aesthetics and Psychology Behind Horror Films. Link

Martin, G. N. (2019). (Why) do you like scary movies? A review of the empirical research on psychological responses to horror films. Frontiers in psychology, 10, 2298. Link

McAndrew, F. T. (2020). The psychology, geography, and architecture of horror: How places creep us out. Evolutionary Studies in Imaginative Culture, 4(2), 47-62. Link

Ballon, B., & Leszcz, M. (2007). Horror films: tales to master terror or shapers of trauma?. American journal of psychotherapy, 61(2), 211-230. Link

Zeman, A. Z., Dewar, M., & Della Sala, S. (2015). Lives without imagery-Congenital aphantasia. Link

Keogh, R., & Pearson, J. (2018). The blind mind: No sensory visual imagery in aphantasia. Cortex, 105, 53-60. Link

Zeman, A., Dewar, M., & Della Sala, S. (2016). Reflections on aphantasia. Cortex, 74, 336-337. Link

Watkins, N. W. (2018). (A) phantasia and severely deficient autobiographical memory: Scientific and personal perspectives. Cortex, 105, 41-52. Link