Sunday, July 31, 2011

A Blind Mind's Eye

A Blind Mind’s Eye

Growing up I never quite understood the term “Mind’s Eye” although I never really gave it much thought either.

Recently my wife read a report in a Discover magazine that spoke of a man having an operation and afterward his mind’s eye went blind. The report talked about his struggle to adapt to the difference in his ability to remember things. This reminded me of the day when I discovered that most people had a “Mind’s Eye” and it was something I never had.

I was taking a class in Cultural Anthropology at the University of Texas in Austin. The class was all about how ancient cultures developed. A lot of it was hands on, like how to knap flint into arrow heads and hand axes. That was the class that got me hooked on anthropology/archaeology and other earth studies.

During one class session the professor began teaching us about how different people perceived the world around them. During the class we learned that about five percent of people have a mind’s eye that sees in 3D in living color and they are part of the vision.  Forty-five percent have a mind’s eye that sees a color movie on a flat screen.  Another forty-five percent see the movie in black and white. The professor then told us that the last five percent listens to the radio in their head with no internal visual effects.

I was stunned when I realized that I was in that last group and I now knew the meaning of the Mind’s Eye. My dreams and day dreams are all like listening to an audio book. I close my eyes and it is dark inside. Now I am married to a woman who is in the first five percent and we have had many discussions about our different perceptions. I have trouble remembering people’s names and word association does not help. She can see their face along with a printed bio of their life and relationships in her head. She is so helpful when I say “Who is that?” and she has her vision.

So what percentage of mental vision are you in?


  1. The last one is normally called a Blind Mind Eye.

  2. I think I must have a "Blind Mind Eye", too. I wish I didn't, but it is what it is.


  3. Me too - when I close my eyes I see my eyelids. I was also SHOCKED to find out that mind's eye was not poetic. when People say "picture this..." they mean it literally.

  4. We are about 5% of the population. Thanks for sharing.

  5. we need to stick together

    I find it hard to read certian books cause I can't visuale anything, but that dosen't stop me from reading. Books that are heavy fantasy/sci-fi are too hard for me to follow/recall - anyone else the same?