My wife and I recently came across a show that referenced a person who had the inability to visualize images in their minds.
My immediate reaciton was, “Of course they can’t, nobody can. We call those hallucinations.” I thought it was absurd to suggest that people could just conjure up an image in their minds.
Turn out, I’m the defective one: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/23/science/aphantasia-minds-eye-blind.html?_r=0
So in my case (which for 45 years I assumed was the same for everyone else), I can’t close my eyes and visualize say an apple. If I see someone and close my eyes I won’t recall anything I just saw. I couldn’t identify their shirt. Unless I explicitly memorize it, I won’t remember a visual detail (like what my son’s glasses look like – I have no idea).
To me, you close your eyes, it’s dark. Sort of “Duh, of course.”
I was aware that I could not easily recognize people. Put one of my friends at the mall here and I wouldn’t recognize them easily. But until the show we watched, I had no idea that people could actually visualize an image in their mind. For me, it’s pretty mind blowing.