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Visual memory and science careers

People with low or no visual imagery are more likely to work in scientific and mathematical industries than creative sectors, according to new research.

Aphantasia, the term describing a person’s inability to visualise in the mind, has been shown to be more common in scientific and technical industries.

The opposite phenomenon of particularly vivid mental imagery, known as hyperphantasia, has also been shown to be more common in creative professions.

The research, led by the University of Exeter, asked 2,000 people with aphantasia and 200 with hyperphantasia about their career choices, amongst other topics.

They also asked 200 control participants with mid-range imagery vividness, who were recruited from the Exeter biobank EXTEND study.

They found that more than 20% of people who had no or little visual imagery worked in science, computing or mathematics; while more than 25% of  people with extremely strong visual imagery worked in arts, design, entertainment and other creative industry.


Picture Credit | iStock

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