Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)



Committee Chair(s)

Kerry Jordan


Kerry Jordan


Chris Warren


Gregory Callan


The purpose of this research was to explore the impact on thinking when an individual is not able to "see with a mind's eye." This is known as aphantasia and is the reduction or absence of visual imagery, which can have large impacts on problem solving and remembering one's own past. The current study examines these impacts by exploring the different ways in which thinking may occur, verbal-analytical, visual imagery, spatial imagery, and how a one's dominant thinking strategy affects performance on a paired work task, a mental rotation task, and an object memory task. Comparing those with typical imagery abilities and those with aphantasia revealed large differences in visual and verbal thinking between those with and without typical imagery abilities, but no differences within the spatial imagery thinking strategy appeared between the two groups. In order to determine if thinking strategy predicts performance on an associated task (verbal-analytical and the paired work task, object imagery and the object memory task, and spatial imagery and the mental rotation task) regression models were used. The analyses revealed only a marginal predicting value for the spatial imagery subscale and the mental rotation task, and no predicting value for the object imagery and verbal-analytical subscales. Results corroborate past research indicating that spatial imagery skills remain intact for those with aphantasia and add to the current literature that aphantasiacs prefer to use verbal thinking strategies over visual ones. However, ceiling effects on the object memory task limited interpretation of the statistical results. Furthermore, the questionnaire used to assess types of thinking has questionable validity. Future research will focus clarifying the different types of thinking and exploring the developmental trajectory of those with aphantasia and the impact on education.