The five senses are something that's taught to us very young, as they're what we use to experience and interpret the world we live in. Learning how to utilize and convey what we experience with those senses is integral to being alive!
Some people are able to do more than that, as not only can they experiences those senses within the realms of reality, but they can also do so within their own imaginations. This ability is called hyperphantasia, and you can find out if you have it right now.
What Is Hyperphantasia?
Hyperphantasia is a phenomenon where someone is able to imagine senses with great clarity or extreme detail. This doesn't mean they have an extreme sense of, for example, smell, but instead they're able to imagine a smell so perfectly that they might as well be smelling it for real.
Hyperphantasia is most often attributed to sight, describing someone's ability to view detailed and fleshed-out scenery, objects, or people all in their heads. It can, however, be applied to any and all senses.
Do you have hyperphantasia in any of the senses? You can find out with this checklist below.
You have to have a free and open mind to take this test, but that's not easy for everybody. Sometimes, limiting beliefs get in the way of us reaching our fullest potential. By using this free audio, you can reframe your experiences and learn how to unlock more happiness in life.
To know if you have visual hyperphantasia, the most common exercise is to picture an apple on a plate.
Now, ask yourself these questions. What color is the apple? Do you know what variety it is? What direction is the light hitting it from? What color is the plate? How big is it? Can you see any imperfections, on the apple or the plate? Is the plate on another surface, is there a bigger scene behind it? Can you zoom in on the apple, or rotate it?
If you have an answer to most of these questions, you likely experience visual hyperphantasia.
Now, for audio hyperphantasia. For all senses, you'll be asked to imagine something, then be asked question about the level of detail with which you can imagine. If you have an answer for most of the questions asked, you've probably got it!
For audio, imagine a song that you're familiar with that has both vocals and instruments.
Now, does it have all the instruments present in the song? Are the vocals changing pitch and tone correctly? Are the vocals singing actual words, not sounds or gibberish? Can you change the tempo of the song? Can you change the singer's voice? Can you change the key, or swap out instruments?
For touch, imagine your hand and an object within it. The object can be any object of your choosing, but it helps if it's one with a texture you're familiar with.
First, does the object feel as it should? Is it the right temperature? The right weight? Can you change the temperature or the weight? Can you create a new object that you've never seen before, something alien, and feel what texture you imagine it could be? Now, forget the object and focus solely on your imagined hand. Can you tap your fingers individually to your palm without issue? Can you create that sensation further up your arm, where your fingers can't reach?
For smell, it's best to imagine the scent of a flower, one that's strong and striking. Or, if you want this to be worse, imagine something stinky. So long as it's a powerful scent, you can test!
So, can you smell it? Is that smell strong, or is it very faint? Is it accurate? Can you make that smell into something else, like a campfire or fresh bread? Can you conjure multiple smells at once, like a bouquet of roses next to a jug of gasoline?
Lastly, taste. This one might be best to skip if you're hungry, as if you do have taste hyperphantasia, you'll only feel hungrier after. Now, imagine a few different foods you have often.
Can you taste them at all? If you're thinking of something salty, can you add more salt to it? Same goes for sweet, can you add more sugar? Can you differentiate between two different flavors, like two types of chips or wine? Can you imagine how a few foods would taste together, then compare that to real life?
This one is notably more rare than the others, so if you can swing it, you have a real gift.
A Heightened Sense
So, what does this all mean?
It's really just a cool fact, a bit of a superpower maybe if you can figure out how to apply it. Surely visual hyperphantasia can lend itself to those in the arts rather easily, while taste hyperphantasia might be able to help someone when cooking.
If you don't have any of these, don't worry about it. You're not lesser than or worse off for it, as hyperphantasia of any sense does give anybody an innate evolutionary advantage. One of the beautiful things about humans is the distinct, unique ways we take in the world around us. So, instead of being upset about not being able to replicate a song in your head, instead celebrate your wonderful and magical interpretations of earth, art, and living every day!