Created By: lu127December 11, 2012 Last Edited By: lu127December 30, 2012
Troped

Thinking Tic

A move you make unconsciously while thinking

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Trope
Spun from this YKTTW and its TRS topic.

A specific type of Character Tic. When Bob is sitting deep in thought, trying to solve a difficult problem, the writers will often provide a tic as a visual shorthand. This move is unconscious, and its main purpose is to underline just how perplexed and frustrated Bob is. Expect to see it happen very often during homework, tests or really tough relationship issues.

Stock variants include:

  • Twirling his fingers and pen, sometimes biting it in annoyance.
  • Drumming his fingers while staring absent-mindedly.
  • Stroking his chin or scratching his beard in wonder.
  • Playing with his hair locks.
  • Tapping on his lips or chin impatiently with his fingertips.
  • Biting his lip, sometimes accompanied by a "tsk" sound.
  • Clicking his tongue impatiently.

Often accompanying it, especially if he isn't alone, will be someone else getting progressively more annoyed by it and finally yelling at him to "Stop that!"

Examples:

[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
  • Hyouka's Oreki Houtarou has a habit of playing with his forelock when he's thinking particularly hard about a case.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Film]]
  • Shemp of The Three Stooges would often start going into spasms when he tried to think, and might request Moe to bonk him in the head to help get the thought to come out.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
  • In a Doctor Who related sketch has a bit where the BBC head of programming and the producer who is pitching Doctor Who to him are thinking and both drum their fingers to the "da-da-da-da" tune of the Doctor Who theme.
  • Commander Data in Star Trek The Next Generation will sometimes cock his head sharply to one side when he's doing some deep calculation.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
  • Doc Savage: The eponymous character is known for making an eerie trilling sound when in deep thought.
  • Erast Fandorin: From Special Assignments onwards, the eponymous detective acquires a habit of grabbing his jade rosary beads and telling them in silence while contemplating.
  • In H.G. Wells First Men In The Moon, Cavor's Thinking Tic of making odd noises while he's thinking is the whole reason he and Bedford even meet. Cavor has the habit of walking past the cottage Bedford lives in, while contemplating his experiments. He unconsciously sings as he walks, and the singing disturbs Bedford's attempts to write, to the point that he asks Cavor to either stop or to walk somewhere else.
  • Sir Denis Nayland Smith of the Fu Manchu books tugs on an earlobe when thinking--even if he's in disguise at the time.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Visual Novels]] [[/folder]]

[[folder:Webcomics]]
  • Radic from Murphys Law has a habit of holding her chin when in thought.
  • Most characters in Questionable Content will raise an index to their faces when thinking aloud.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Original]] [[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
  • The Many Adventures Of Winnie The Pooh:
    • Whenever facing a problem, Pooh, being not to so bright, tends to lightly tap his head and repeat "Think, think, think" while rocking back and forth.
    • While he's thinking, Tigger makes a bizarre facial expression with his mouth. Kind of like he has chewed an idea in his mouth and he's deciding if it tastes good or not.
[[/folder]]
Community Feedback Replies: 22
  • December 11, 2012
    Madrugada
    Often accompanying it, especially if he isn't alone, will be someone else getting progressively more annoyed by it and finally yelling at him to "Stop that!"

    • In H.G. Wells First Men In The Moon Cavor's Thinking Tic of making odd noises while he's thinking is the whole reason he and Bedford even meet. Cavor has the habit of walking past the cottage Bedford lives in, while contemplating his experiments. He unconsciously sings as he walks, and the singing disturbs Bedford's attempts to write, to the point that he asks Cavor to either stop or to walk somewhere else.
  • December 12, 2012
    Oreochan
    The supertrope to this one is Character Tics and here are some examples of this trope on there:

    • Hyouka's Oreki Houtarou has a habit of playing with his forelock when he's thinking particularly hard about a case.
    • The Nostalgia Critic has a tendency to pucker his mouth when he's thinking something over.
    • Most characters in Questionable Content will raise an index to their faces when thinking aloud.
    • Radic from Murphys Law has a habit of holding her chin when in thought.
  • December 12, 2012
    Surenity
    • Shemp of The Three Stooges would often start going into spasms when he tried to think, and might request Moe to bonk him in the head to help get the thought to come out.
  • December 13, 2012
    JonnyB
    Commander Data in Star Trek The Next Generation will sometimes cock his head sharply to one side when he's doing some deep calculation.
  • December 13, 2012
    lu127
    You even gave them namespaced! Awesome.
  • December 14, 2012
    Koveras
    • From Special Assignments onwards, Erast Fandorin acquires a habit of grabbing his jade rosary beads and telling them in silence while contemplating.
  • December 15, 2012
    randomsurfer
    In the Winnie The Pooh animated films Tigger has this...thing...he does with his mouth while he's thinking. Kind of like he has chewed an idea in his mouth and he's deciding if it tastes good or not.
  • December 15, 2012
    lu127
    ^That's...uh, a bit hard to describe, isn't it? I can't even remember it...does he click his tongue?
  • December 17, 2012
    randomsurfer
    It looks a little bit like the "McKayla is not Impressed" meme, except instead of a single side, he kind of swishes it back and forth in his mouth.
  • December 19, 2012
    Surenity
    Didn't Pooh himself also like poke the top of his head and go "Think think think"? I haven't watched it in years so i don't remember clearly.
  • December 20, 2012
    lu127
    ^ I think, but my only experience with Pooh is Kingdom Hearts.
  • December 20, 2012
    SKJAM
    A couple more Literature examples...

    • Doc Savage is known for making an eerie trilling sound when in deep thought.
    • Sir Denis Nayland Smith of the Fu Manchu books tugs on an earlobe when thinking--even if he's in disguise at the time.
  • December 20, 2012
    DRCEQ
    Truth In Television. There are human lie detectors who are so perceptive that they can detect the physical response that people give when they lie, no matter how subtle. They can conciously fool a lie detector test, but their body still betrays them. Most of the time, the liars don't know that they are doing these things.
  • December 20, 2012
    Lyendith
    Visual Novel:

  • December 22, 2012
    lu127
    ^^ Interesting, but perhaps more appropriate for Character Tic. This YKTTW is about thinking really hard, not necessarily lying.
  • December 22, 2012
    DRCEQ
    Actually, looking through that trope, I see it better suited for here more than anything. It's entirely your choice to include it though.
  • December 25, 2012
    lu127
    Hmmm, Ihave no strong objections, and I'd like to hear more opinions as well. And examples!
  • December 25, 2012
    randomsurfer
    In a Doctor Who related sketch (seen on the DVD of "An Unearthly Child" I think) has a bit where the BBC head of programming and the producer who is pitching Doctor Who to him are thinking and both drum their fingers to the "da-da-da-da" tune of the Doctor Who theme.
  • December 27, 2012
    lu127
    Thanks. Any others?
  • December 28, 2012
    Bisected8
    Would this count;

    • In Scrubs, JD always tilts his head and rolls his eyes when it cuts to one of his Imagine Spots. The DVD commentary mentions that all the actors had to come up with one of these for their characters when members of the cast other than JD started having them.
  • December 28, 2012
    lu127
    I'm....not entirely sure. Anyone else have an opinion?

    BTW, does anyone have any alternative titles in mind?
  • December 30, 2012
    lu127
    I don't see much interest, so if there are no objections or proposals this will be launched tomorrow.

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable