Looks like I have an Aphantasia
Just recently, I've discovered that I have an Aphantasia – “inability to voluntarily create mental images in one's mind.”
I've stumbled upon an online visual-hallucination-inducing research website. I tried it, and it didn't induce anything. I've read a little bit more of the description, and it said that it's known not to work on people with Aphantasia. So I started to read about that Aphantasia thing, and yeap, that's me. All the definitions, descriptions, and testimonies match perfectly and suddenly I realized the root cause of many of my idiosyncracies.
When I close my eyes I just don't see anything. No images, no colors, shapes, anything. And I was not aware that I'm supposed to. I was always aware that other people have better “memory” when it comes to how things looked like, what color they had, etc. but it wasn't ever clear to me that... they just close their eyes and can see stuff almost like it is there. I always thought it's just some sort of a metaphore about having better memory. In a way, I still have problems beliving that's how most of people visualize thing.
When I “visualize” it's more about spatial relationships between things. When I “imagine a house” I don't see any particular side of it, with exterior walls, paint color, etc.. I just have a sense of a three dimensional wireframe-like model of walls, doors, windows, floors and so on. I don't see a color (or any other property) of anything. I just remember the word describing it: “the walls are white”. When I imagine an apple, it's not like a real apple. It's more of a point in space where a conceptual round object is.
I thought that I'm quite good at visualizing stuff. But turns out it wasn't visualizing at all. I can just model abstract/3d representations of things. And people that actually can visualize stuff are... seeing a picture or movie of something in their head, with the real-life details. (Is that so? As I said, I still have this feeling that this is made up?)
While mildly interesting, in practical terms, I don't think this changes much. It is what it is, I am leading a happy life, apprently compensating for lack of visualization in other ways. I guess now I'll have an easier way to understand and explain why I am having a hard time to remember new faces, never know how something looked like or what were people wearing, and can't tell you if two colors go well together unless I see them right in front of me.