This conference is a result of research lead by Professor Adam Zeman of the University of Exeter College of Medicine and Health, and the Eye’s Mind research group: Fiona Macpherson (philosophy, Glasgow), Crawford Winlove (neuroscience, Exeter), John Onians (art history, University of East Anglia), and Matthew MacKisack (cultural history, Exeter).
In 2015, Professor Zeman coined the term “aphantasia” to describe a phenomenon in which some people are unable to conjure up pictures inside their minds. He called the opposite phenomenon “hyperphantasia”, in which people have particularly vivid mental imagery.
When these extremes of ‘mind’s eye’ experience were identified, a huge public response followed, with thousands of people recognising themselves as ‘aphantasic’ or ‘hyperphantasic’. This conference represents one of the many public responses by the Eye's Mind team, recognising the need for people to connect and share knowledge and information about a subject that clearly resonates strongly with the population. Over the course of the conference, participants heard from the Eye's Mind project leaders about the current research pertaining to Aphantasia across disciplines of Psychology, Neuroscience, Philosophy, Art and Culture.
Participants were also able to take part in a range of workshops and break out groups to learn and share, contributing their own experiences to both researchers and each other.
Video and audio documentation of the conference is included below, including a lecture by Professor Fiona MacPherson from University of Glasgow's Centre for the Study of Perceptual Experience.
Speakers and Workshops:
Links to BBC coverage of the conference can be found here