Why Image Streaming Might be an Invaluable Tool for Improving Visualization and Creativity

By on March 22, 2018

What if I told you that there was an exercise that just might be able to develop your brain in the same way? What if I told you that I’ve tried it, and it works? This is exercise may just be the closest thing to a Limitless-style upgrade. It’s called ‘Image Streaming’.

I’ve spoken on the Bioneer before about the power of visualization. In particular, I’ve discussed how useful it is for practicing movements without having to actually get up and move.

But the utility of visualization goes far beyond this. Visualization is also an incredibly powerful tool when it comes to solving problems, making plans and exploring concepts. This is something that Einstein seemed to inherently understand, when he explained the process involved in his discovery of special relativity.

And it’s something we all do all the time to a lesser or greater extent – often without even realizing it. It’s something that many of us could benefit from doing more.

A Riddle!

To demonstrate the power of visualization – and thus the potential power of image streaming – consider this puzzle:

A monk takes a journey up a mountain that takes him one whole day. He varies his pace, stopping along the way for food and slowing down at points to enjoy the scenery. When he reaches the top, he stays in an old monastery for 24 hours to meditate and then begins the journey back. He sets off at the same time and takes a whole day again. Once more, he varies his pace but he takes the exact same route he did on the way up.

Question: is there any time of day when the monk would have been at the exact same point on his route on both days? At any point was the monk in the same place, at the same time, on both days?

Take a moment to think about this logically.

Got it?

If you answered ‘yes’ then you are correct. But how did you come to that conclusion?

Many people will have tried to reason it out logically and thus will have gotten the wrong answer. The monk travelled at different speeds and so of course, he wouldn’t be likely to be in the same place at the same time on both days. Why would he?

This is the limitation of our logical brain. But if you were instead to use your visual reasoning, then you would have pictured the monk going up the mountain and the monk coming down the mountain. You might have overlaid these two images on top of one another.

In short, our visual thinking can do things that our logical thinking cannot.

And in doing so, you would have seen that the two temporally distant monks would have had to cross paths at some time. So of course, there must have been a point when they were on the same part of the mountain at the same time.

In short, our visual thinking can do things that our logical thinking cannot. Not only can we simulate scenarios, we can take apart contraptions and even perform impossible feats: such as superimposing two versions of the same monk on top of each other.

Einstein took this one step further by imaging himself travelling on a beam of light and then picturing what the world around him would look like. Thus, he happened upon relativity.

We’ve seen likewise, how this system can be ‘hacked’ for better math performance by internalizing the mechanism of an abacus. And in reality, visualization doesn’t even necessarily have to be ‘visual’ in nature. Composers will create music by first hearing it play in their phonological loop. And as a programmer, I will often solve abstract problems when I’m far away from a keyboard (okay, so I’m never far away from a keyboard. But you get the gist…).

If you could improve your visualization through image streaming, you could improve the greatest unsung hero of your creativity, reasoning and problem solving abilities. Maybe you could think more like Einstein? Einstein’s brain shows us that his brain regions relating to visualization and spatial reasoning were significantly larger than the average person’s. This is thought to be one of the key reasons he had such incredible insight.

image streaming lucid dreaming

So, what if I told you that there was an exercise that just might be able to develop your brain in the same way? What if I told you that I’ve tried it, and it works? This is exercise may just be the closest thing to a Limitless-style upgrade.

Image Streaming Explained

Image streaming is a little-known tool that you can use to drastically improve your ability to visualize. The great news is that it is incredibly simple to get started with. Just close your eyes and then start describing what you see.

The idea is to allow visual imagery to come to you. Close your eyes long enough and this will happen for most people. Faces, animals, places or ideas will begin to form. Some you’ll see vividly, others you’ll just get an impression of.

You’ll set a recorder and then you’ll just explain what you’re seeing as it goes. Don’t judge or try to influence the pictures, just speak out loud about what they are – so that if someone were listening to you, they too would be able to picture those same images.

Do this for ten minutes and then stop. And then do the same thing the next day. Repeat this ten times and that should be enough to start seeing the benefits – though many people will experience them much faster.

What is Happening?

Obviously this image streaming technique is simply practicing your ability to visualize, which in turn should be able to trigger physical changes in the brain through brain plasticity. As it happens, visualization appears to utilize multiple different brain regions working together and mimic the same activation in the brain that we would see if we actually saw the things we were visualizing or engaged in those activities in real life (study). But while there’s not a specific ‘visualization’ area of the brain, it stands to reason that the necessary networks within the relevant areas could be strengthened.

Explaining what you’re seeing might actually be beneficial for thickening the corpus callosum

There’s also a big element of creativity and likely memory involved here, which could aid with abstract thinking, memory retrieval and the general ability to think visually. Because you’re ‘saying what you see’, it essentially becomes an exercise in association.

I was hoping that image streaming might also benefit lucid dreaming, though I’ve had no progress in that area so far (I’ve never been able to crack it!).

I did wonder for a while whether it was really necessary to speak aloud during the process. What I’ve since discovered though is that explaining what you’re seeing might actually be beneficial for thickening the corpus callosum – the thick bundle of neurons that bridges the left and right hemispheres of the brain. That’s because our language centers and visual centers are largely located in opposite hemispheres and this exercises forces you to use both in a cohesive manner. This might just be very important: seeing as we know that Einstein had an unusually thick corpus callosum and it is suggested that this may have helped with some of his breakthroughs. Whole brain connectivity is also generally thought to be important for general intelligence.

I’ve been trying this for a while now, since my video on image streaming, and I’ve found that it has helped my visualization to become more vivid and lifelike, that it has reawakened some creativity and that it may even have improved my memory. It’s always hard to rule out placebo, but I’m generally optimistic about the usefulness of this exercise. To me, image streaming seems valuable and I wonder if more people should consider adding it on top of meditation practice as part of a more comprehensive mental workout? I’ve always said that being ‘constantly in the moment’ isn’t necessarily always a good thing. So why not train your default mode network a bit too?

Give image streaming a try and let me know how it goes for you!

About Adam Sinicki

Adam Sinicki, AKA The Bioneer, is a writer, personal trainer, author, entrepreneur, and web developer. I've been writing about health, psychology, and fitness for the past 10+ years and have a fascination with the limits of human performance. When I'm not running my online businesses or training, I love sandwiches, computer games, comics, and hanging out with my family.


  1. Gray says:

    Is there a list of exercises we can use? I’m actually looking into using this for a skill I’m looking to develop for my desired profession.

  2. Josh says:

    I found an amazing way to train this is through the memory palace. About 10 years ago when I was first learning how to memorise a pack of cards using a memory palace (which is essentially going through a visual image circuit) – I found immense benefits in other areas of my life:
    – I found my creativity and ability to create images in my mind went through the earth (I mean the actual visual intensity and depth of the images)
    -I found that it basically solved alot of the negative aspects of my adhd, whilst I have a superpower with my hyperfocus, the negatives such as being able to change tasks, be more aware of things going around me that I ordinarily would block out from disinterest and holding thoughts in my head increased dramatically, I believe this was because of:
    -Huge increase in working memory, I remember testing this at the time through dual n-back, and I had gone up around three levels with no training on dual n-back during the few weeks at that time I was spending on the memory palace. The benefits of this translated into my life because it made me very ‘sharp’, say if I was debating something, I could very easily in my head breakdown the points in my head in the specific order very logically and then succinctly say that, my focus in general life was through the roof.

    Anyway Hope that helps, Josh

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