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Gut Feeling

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"I don't like him. I don't have any evidence, but like you humans say, I feel it in my gut."
Garrus Vakarian, Mass Effect

One thing you can count on in virtually any genre of fiction is that the heroes will have an uncanny sense of intuition, often bordering on being psychic. If a main character says something and justifies it as being a hunch, gut feeling, or an "I just know", then about 90% of the time he will turn out to be right. There are certain exceptions such as if a character says about another "I've got a sudden feeling we might not see each other again", then the chances are only about 50-50 of the main character being right, and if he is wrong it is still guaranteed to be a while (unless this trope is purposely subverted). Gut feeling can be broken down into three categories:

Judge of character.

The main character is an Excellent Judge of Character: his gut feeling about a person, not necessarily based on more than a couple minutes of interaction, is by far the most accurate measurement available of how good or evil that person is. For example: If a person has an "honest face", we can probably trust them. Perhaps writers think this is a subtler way to quickly point out who the bad guys are.

Often the main character isn't aware of this, it's just that the villain conveniently turns out to be someone they were uneasy about all along. Sometimes, though, characters are willing to risk a lot on that gut feeling. When this happens they're usually right.

Compare Evil-Detecting Dog. Contrast the Horrible Judge of Character.

Reading the villain's mind.

Another well-established piece of heroic gut feeling is that the hero can metaphorically read the villain's mind. If the hero has a gut feeling about where the villain is hiding (or the bank robber's getaway method, or where the terrorists have hidden the bomb, or where the arms dealers are meeting, or where the killer hid the body, etc.), you can safely disregard any and all evidence to the contrary because the hero will inevitably be proved right.

For example, it won't matter if the police have a gang's written plans, recorded phone calls, and the like saying they're going to rob Bank A, if the lead character/detective has a gut feeling they'll rob Bank B it will all turn out to be an elaborate fake-out, or the gang knew they were Being Watched and recorded and were speaking in code. Particularly common in summer action movies and Film Noir. In fact, regardless of a detective's condition, including being constantly drunk, paranoid, insane, or otherwise idiotic, his gut feeling will be his redeeming factor. Usually, the only exception is if the crooks are the main characters, in which case the detective's Gut Feeling will be known about and used to their advantage.

Compare: I Just Knew

He's okay, I can feel it.

If major characters are separated and/or there's a question about one of them surviving or succeeding in their task, but one character says calmly, "I know he's okay, I can feel it", then you can all but guarantee that this character will in fact be okay, despite the character not having anything to base this on. Common in cheesy movies of the 1960s, '70s, and '80s, and still found from time to time in adventure and action movies, as well as manga and anime, in which such is often attributed to The Power of Friendship or The Power of Love.

Gut Feeling Related Tropes

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(Judge of Character)

    Anime & Manga 
  • Dragon Ball Z, while having numerous straight examples of this trope, has subverted it at least once. Before a tournament arc, all the heroes are uneasy about a short blue guy. That short blue guy was (one of the) the Supreme Kais and just about the only good guy there besides the main characters. They'd completely missed the real enemies there. In this example, the characters were basing their assumptions based on how strong the others were. The Supreme Kai was far stronger than the villains, who turned out to be disposable mooks anyway.
  • My-HiME, episode 2: Haruka tells Yukino that she doesn't trust Mai, and tries to convince her skeptic friend that Mai's arrival by ferry is somehow connected to the weirdness in their school. It turns out Haruka's suspicion is well-founded, as Mai's HiME abilities kick in later that night while defending Takumi from an Orphan.
  • L and Near in Death Note both have this, and Light as well, to a lesser extent. L is immediately able to narrow down all suspects to one (the right one) within his first chat with the suspect. Near literally looks at a television screen and figures out that the man on the screen is his main suspect, even though he says nothing incriminating. (The manga explained the latter conclusion much better.)
  • Runge from Monster is purportedly able to reconstruct a crime scene based on the emotions and other similarly nebulous traces of human presence he senses in it.
  • Tsuna from Reborn! (2004) has the "vongola hyper-intuition" which gives him various insights over the course of the show about everybody's character; including both knowing which current villians are really good and will defect, and being able to tell when his guardians are either not themselves or have been replaced by the first-generation guardians he is so good at this that even when HIS first generation guardian attempts to block his intuition it doesn't work.

  • Justified in Return of the Jedi, with Luke and Vader, since they can both sense things through the Force.
  • Joe Cabot in Reservoir Dogs correctly picks out The Mole in the gang of crooks he recruited, based on his gut. When Mr. White objects Joe just says, "You don't need proof when you've got instinct!"
  • Jason Bourne in The Bourne Series has this is spades. In the first film he moves almost completely by gut feeling. Justified in that he is an amnesiac and is mostly unaware of what he knows and must rely on his gut. In the second film his gut feeling helps him identify an assassin just by the car he's driving and his overall look. In the third film he guides a man through a crowded train station crawling with CIA agents who want to capture/kill him, avoiding the cameras and knowing just when to move and when to stay put.
  • In Draft Day, the Browns general manager Sonny Weaver has a lot of doubts whether he should draft Bo Callahan or not. Callahan is a very talented quarterback, but he has some personality issues. His co-worker and girlfriend Ali tells him not to listen to other people, but to do on what he thinks is the best. Sonny Weaver also tells the GM from the Jaguars literally that he didn't draft Callahan because of a gut feeling.
  • In Deewaar, Daavar predicts that Vijay will go far in life based on his infuriated reaction to having the money he was paid for shining shoes thrown on the ground and demanding that it be put in his hand instead. He's proven right 20 or so years later, when he unknowingly recruits Vijay and he turns out to be a great asset.
  • Mocked by Snape in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince when Harry accuses Malfoy of nearly killing another student (Harry is correct but has zero proof to back it up).
    McGonagall: That is a very serious accusation, Potter.
    Snape: Indeed. Your evidence?
    Harry: I just know.
    Snape: [extremely sarcastic] You just... know? Once again you astonish me with your gifts, Potter, gifts mere mortals can only dream of possessing. How grand it must be to be the Chosen One.
  • An ironic example in ''Touch of Evil'’: Hank Quinlan suspects of who did the car bombing of the film's opening through sheer gut feeling and plants evidence on him rather than do the proper investigation, leading to the rest of the plot when Agent Mike Vargas catches him doing it and discovers that Quinlan has been doing this for a very long time now to other suspects. After everything is said and done and Quinlan has been killed trying to destroy (and then kill) Vargas, another officer reports that the man Quinlan suspected confessed and supplied proper evidence of his crime, which leads to one final ironic statement about Quinlan:
    He was a great detective, but a lousy cop.

  • The Lord of the Rings:
    • Frodo chooses to trust Aragorn at their first meeting based largely on a gut feeling. That and his logic that if Aragorn was an agent of the Enemy, he would make more effort not to look so dark and threatening. "An enemy would look fairer and feel fouler".
    • Also in The Lord of the Rings: Gandalf is such an incredible judge of character that he actually knows that the ending will be Gollum's doing, "for good or ill." (And he has to know, deep down that it's for good, or he would advise Frodo differently.)
    • And in the backstory, Galadriel is the only Elf in Eregion who thinks there's something fishy about this Annatar fellow. He's actually Sauron.
  • Belgarath the Sorcerer, prequel to the Belgariad: everyone who interacts with Zedar feels vaguely uneasy, making his Face–Heel Turn little surprise to the reader (If there was any surprise left, since it's a prequel).
  • Subverted in Harry Potter: Harry distrusts Snape from the moment he meets him, and his opinion never changes. At the end of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, he is apparently proved right, but then finds out in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows that his Gut Feeling was entirely wrong, even though Snape hated Harry with a vengeance and had actively worked to ensure that Harry hated him just as much. Harry tends to be an intuitive and perceptive person, but he's also very emotional, and his feelings cloud his judgement — which leads to him mistaking his personal dislike of characters like Malfoy and Snape for evidence that they're up to something (which they may or may not be).
  • The Sword of Truth: Kahlan decided that the men who objected to her taking command of their forces, who had previously been fighting a hopeless battle against the Imperial Order, intended to side with them and ordered all but one of them killed. Surprise, the survivor admitted they did intend to go up to the enemy army and try to join up.
  • In Men at Arms, Vimes figures out a major plot-point on this and is later proven correct. Mind you, this is par for the course for Vimes, who gets at least one of these every book and is pretty much always correct. Invoked later on when Angua attributes knowing that an explosion had been caused by a dragon blowing itself up to women's intuition. In fact, it's because she's a werewolf and talked to a dog who was at the scene, but she decided that "Because a little dog told me" was a worse explanation.
  • In The Stand, Lloyd's first reaction to hearing Randall Flagg wandering around in the prison looking for survivors is to hide under his bunk and hope that he'll go away. Since Lloyd is also dying of starvation in his cell, he quickly reveals himself and begs Flagg for help when Flagg pretends to get ready to leave.
  • Herald Talia in the Heralds of Valdemar series is The Empath, but the Queen's most trusted advisor makes her profoundly uneasy because she cannot sense anything from him. He turns out to be a traitor of the highest order, though tragically he isn't found out before he gets Talia's close friend (his own nephew) killed.
  • In Another Note, Naomi Misora meets up with an "unprivate detective" named Rue Ryuzaki. She feels like something is "off" about Rue, but she can't quite figure out what other than that he seems to be something of a Cloudcuckoolander. Because of this, she doesn't like Rue, but agrees to work with him and humor him to solve the case. It turns out that she was right to think poorly of Rue, because he is actually the Serial Killer they've been looking for, Beyond Birthday. This makes her grabbing of the Idiot Ball and resulting death in the Death Note series proper all the more jarring.
  • Inspector Alan Grant, Josephine Tey's main detective character, is said to have an infallible gut instinct of the judge-of-character type. It's a major plot point in The Daughter of Time, probably the most famous of the Grant novels, where the whole thing kicks off when he sees a portrait of somebody famous without at first knowing who it is, and gets an instinctive impression that's entirely at odds with the public knowledge of the person.
  • In Song of the Lioness, Alanna is introduced to Duke Roger of Conté, who is handsome, charming, and happened to be the king's heir before the birth of her friend Prince Jonathan. Alanna immediately gets a bad feeling towards him, which she doesn't understand at all because everyone else likes and trusts him and he's not doing anything suspicious, but she can't shake the feeling either. As it turns out she's right on the money and the only reason nobody else sees anything fishy is because Roger is using enchanted dolls in a black bag to literally keep them in the dark—only the doll he's using to represent her is of the boy he thinks she is, and so she's able to perceive the truth.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Cluedo:
    • In series 3 and 4, the detectives are asked for their gut feelings about the room, weapon and suspect immediately after viewing the evidence, before they can ask the suspects any questions; usually to boos or cheers from the audience, and pleas of innocence from the suspects.
    • In series 2, one detective gave "gut instinct" as her reason for accusing the Reverend Green, adding "I'll show you where it comes from, about here," pointing to her gut.
  • Star Trek: The Original Series
    • In "Obsession", Captain Kirk is convinced the Monster of the Week is a threat he's encountered before as a young ensign and is dedicated to destroying it. This is presented as being highly subjective and dangerous to rely on, to the extent that Spock and McCoy formally threaten to relieve him of command unless he explains his actions (which he does, and turns out to be right).
    • In "The Ultimate Computer", Kirk has an uncomfortable feeling about the titular machine before it goes haywire, but he wonders if it's just because he's jealous. It isn't.
    • In "Spock's Brain", Kirk is faced with three planets where the brain-napper might have gone, but only time to investigate one of them before Spock dies. Two have inhabited civilizations, but are not advanced enough to build a spacecraft. The other is a glacial world inhabited by primitives, but with regular pulses of energy coming from it. Kirk takes his chance on the last planet and turns out to be right. A justified example as he has to make a choice regardless based on limited data.
  • Data, of all people, in the Next Generation episode "Data's Day"; though, being Data, he doesn't recognise his uneasiness as a gut feeling and wishes he could have gut feelings to back up the information he has on the Enterprise's passenger.
  • Star Trek: Voyager
    • Unfortunately combined with Straw Vulcan whenever the characters laud the value of gut instinct versus logic, instead of "going with your gut" only when they don't have another option. "Rise", "Sacred Ground" and "Hope and Fear" are all examples.
    • In "Repression", Tuvok (usually the last to use this trope as he's a Vulcan) insists that another crewmember is responsible for a series of attacks, based purely on an un-Vulcan gut feeling. Turns out Tuvok is a Manchurian Agent committing the attacks and this instinct is just a repressed memory of his actions.
  • JAG: Harmon Rabb has an uncanny ability to judge whether a defendant is innocent or not before any evidence admissible in court is provided.
  • In NCIS, Special Agent Gibbs' gut instincts are legendary. Give him two minutes with a perp in the interrogation room and he'll either beat a confession out of him or walk calmly out of the room and say "it wasn't him." It's been played to the point where the possibility of his gut feeling being wrong caused a serious mental conflict with himself and an even more serious conflict for Abbey, his groupie down in forensics.
    • Be fair. He doesn't beat it out of them. He doesn't have to. He's Gibbs.
  • Jack O'Neill in Stargate SG-1. Every. Single. Episode. His instincts are infallible. However NOBODY on the show, including Jack himself, ever seems to have recognized it!
  • Warehouse 13: Pete and Myka were chosen for the team based on their inverse personalities. Myka bases her work on cold, calculating facts and logic. Pete, however, goes by feelings and intuition. This is shown in his distrust of HG Wells
  • Brennan from Bones comments on FBI partner Booth's frequent use of his gut, as opposed to her "facts and logic" method. Booth's skill as an agent come from his judge of character and even some uses of number 3.
  • Horatio Caine in CSI: Miami. In fact, one wonders why the Miami-Dade police department even needs crime scene investigators, given the guilty party always turns out to be the person H doesn't like.
  • Zoe also uses this in the Firefly episode "Our Mrs. Reynolds," when she points out (rather angrily) to Wash that Saffron is "trouble".
    • Of course, her gut feeling was rather wrong in "Out of Gas," when she tells Mal that something about Wash bothered her. Later she marries him. Oh, and somewhere in between those he shaves his mustache, presumably.
      • No, she was absolutely right. The mustache was wrong.
  • Several people use this as a basis for their treatment of Baltar in Battlestar Galactica, most notably Laura Roslin but also Adama and Tigh. All three judge him to be shifty, eccentric and irritating at best and their gut feelings are that he cannot be trusted. All of which is perfectly true. Roslin actually describes using her gut feeling when Baltar is accused of aiding the Cylon attack, which he did do, just not as intentionally or personally as he was being framed as doing, although her feeling is only partially correct in that she believes him to be the kind of man who would intentionally sell out his people before it was a life or death decision for him, when in fact he was just a dupe.
    • A major problem that their gut feelings frequently result in is they underestimate Baltar, as while he is cowardly, shifty and untrustworthy as they believe, they begin to forget he is also a genius when it comes to securing an advantage for himself, always reinventing himself and gaining new popularity at their expense, a measure of power coming along with that, such that even outright hating him, they have no choice but to work with him.
  • The only two occasions that Buffy took a seemingly-irrational dislike to someone, that person later turned out to be evil and nonhuman - Ted was a robot serial killer, while Kathy was a demon trying to steal Buffy's soul.
    • She also veers into "villain mind-reading" and "he's okay, I just know it", as there's constantly things she simply couldn't know - but does. This may or may not be related to her Slayer abilities, as Faith all but literally reads minds.
    • Buffy trusts Spike so much she has the vampire's Restraining Bolt removed. Earlier Giles is talking about how his instinct warned him of a Bringer sneaking up behind him with an axe.
    Giles: Why on Earth did you make that decision? (regarding Spike)
    Buffy: Guess it was instinct, like you were talking about.
    Giles: I made that up! I knew the Bringer was there because his shoes squeaked!
  • Used to show double standards in one murder mystery (unfortunately I've forgotten which one) where a female detective's opinion was derided as "women's intuition" by her male superior, who a few sentences later was talking about how his "copper's instinct" was telling him who the real killer was.
  • Garibaldi from Babylon 5 has frequently commented on his reliance on gut feelings, and has displayed the judge of character variation on several occasions.
  • Betty, from Dead Like Me had a light bulb that went off in her stomach whenever she looked at someone. This light bulb would immediately tell her what kind of person they were, although the types they were sorted into were or seemed frivolous, such as: Mouth-breather people or talks-on-airplane people.
  • The Professionals. Cowley's instinct tells him that Chief Constable Green is using illegal methods to maintain law and order. The Minister retorts that you can't put 'instincts' down on paper. Later one of Green's men says that his instinct tells him that Bodie and Doyle (sent by Cowley to investigate Green) are a couple of troublemakers. Green replies that he likes instincts because "they can't be put on paper."
  • Moonbase 3. In the first episode, Dr. Helen Smith thinks that the director's personal pilot is cracking up, but can only back this up with a vague feeling. Deputy Director Lebrun isn't impressed, as she's supposed to write up a report full of impressive-sounding psychobabble to justify grounding the pilot instead of passing the buck onto him. Lebrun is unable to convince the director not to use his favorite pilot, who proceeds to crack up on the trip back to Earth and get them both killed.
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power: When she is questioned by Poppy why she is helping a potentially dangerous stranger that just fell from the sky, Nori justifies her actions by responding she just knows he is important and that they were fated to meet.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In 7th Sea, Scryers (male and female alike) can, on top of a buttload of other advantages, automatically tell if another character is a Hero, Villain, or Scoundrel just by looking at them. That's just one of the reasons why most 7th Sea Game Masters don't usually allow the Sophia's Daughters in their games...

  • In Night Must Fall, Olivia senses something about Dan that leads her to distrust him from the first, though she's at a loss to describe what she finds wrong about him.

    Video Games 
  • Issei of Fate/stay night. He's right about Saber, the main heroine, being a good person, even though he only just met her. He's right about Rin not being what she appears and he's right about Shinji not being a good person. On the other hand, he's wrong about Rin being evil (she's not), the man he considers to be a brother is an amoral teacher, and he thinks Caster is a good person. She kills him in one Bad End.
  • In Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, a prequel set in the 60s, the player's character stops the Femme Fatale from shooting an adversary for no particular reason (Word of God suggests a naive crush - ). Later it turns out that adversary is both The Mole in the organization of the Big Bad and a very significant character in the timeline of the entire series.
  • In Mass Effect, Wrex once did a job for Saren along with a bunch of other mercenaries. However, the first time he actually saw Saren, he got a feeling that there was something very wrong with the whole situation, and fled before receiving any paymentnote . Turns out his hunch was right; all of the other mercs turned up dead within a week after the job was finished.
  • Kyosuke Nanbu in Super Robot Wars: Original Generation has good instincts and his "hunches" tend to be spot on. In the first game, he suspected that Ingram Prisken was a traitor; turns out he was right. Not only that, he correctly guessed the traitor had an agenda seperate from the Aerogaters. For the sequel, he suspected Lamia Loveless was The Mole within minutes of meeting her, and correctly guessed she was working for a third-party.
  • Alice Devonfort in Moonrise claims that most of her actions are based on what her gut tells her. In actuality, her supernatural empathy gives her limited precognition, putting her in the good company of the Seers trope.

    Visual Novels 
  • Danganronpa
    • A Running Gag with Sayaka Maizono is for her to respond to Makoto's inner monologue, claim to be psychic, and then state that she's kidding and just has really good intuition. On the other hand, her ending in School Mode, implies that Sayaka might be a psychic after all.
    • Kaito from the 3rd game isn't the brightest in investigations (though apparently he's a decent scientist), but he's an excellent judge of character, immediately picking up that Maki had fighting experience and quickly shanghaiing Shuichi into being his 'sidekick' because he trusted in Shuichi's detective abilities. In the second trial, he determines that neither he nor Maki were the culprit when Kokichi tried to pit them against each other, and helps uncover the true culprit by realizing that Kirumi didn't mean them when she said "everyone" was relying on her. He's also the only student to firmly believe in Maki's Hidden Heart of Gold and coax her into joining the other students.
    • Miu in the same game is able to correctly point out the culprit in every trial she appears in, but doesn't swing trials because she can never actually provide a concrete reason for her guesses.

  • Discussed in The Order of the Stick when Roy and Vaarsuvius mull over whether or not they can trust the vampirized Durkon, who had just recently joined the party:
    Vaarsuvius: You are perhaps worried that the halfling is correct and the vampire cannot be trusted?
    Roy: I don't know. I don't think Belkar is lying — which, let's be clear, is not a sentence I ever thought I'd say — but I also can't assume he's not letting his anger cloud his judgment. Every feeling, every instinct in my body tells me yes, that's Durkon — just changed a little. If I can help him through those changes, shouldn't I do that? I can't abandon my best friend when he needs me the most!
    Vaarsuvius: I see. When the halfling eschews logic and makes decisions emotionally, it is problematic. But when you do, it is valid.
    Roy: NO! Maybe. My gut is smarter than his gut!
    Vaarsuvius: Abdominal cognitive limits aside, the rational thing to do would be to judge the creature that travels with us on its own merits — without regard to one's feelings toward the late Master Thundershield.
    Roy: I agree. And when I do that, he's been a model part member. Hell, the one time he got agitated today, he was actively pursuing a resurrection spell.
    Vaarsuvius: Your intuition and your intellect are in agreement, yet you still remain conflicted.
    Roy: Weird, huh?
    Vaarsuvius: It would appear that you are of two guts on the matter.
  • Credenza, The Protagonist of Archipelago, always knows who to trust, sometimes to Raven's exasperation. Whether it's a reforming raven spirit, a pair of half-weresharks or that member of the villain team who's having second thoughts, if she trusts someone, they are or will become a hero sooner or later. Incidentally, Raven himself would be considered very untrustworthy by his own standards - for a while he's puzzled as to why she trusted him during his Mook–Face Turn.
    Raven: All those things you said, it was just because I was listening too. As soon as I leave you can tell Blitz what you REALLY think.
    Credenza: I said what I said because it's truth. And I hope you can trust us enough to hear the truth face to face. You're a good human Raven, as much as you may deny it. And I think you have what it takes to someday be a good man.

(Reading the villain's mind.)

    Comic Books 
  • Happens in Watchmen with Rorschach's mask-killer theory.

  • Guyana: Crime of the Century: One of the reporters assigned to travel with O'Brien, Cliff Robston, is intercepted by his father when he aims to leave his house for the fateful duty. The father tells him that he's got a bad feeling about the whole matter, but Cliff assures him that he'll be fine. Unfortunately, he won't.
  • In the cop movie Heat, Vincent Hanna and Neill McCauley have a bit of this towards each other. McCauley, the crook, stops in the middle of a heist because he can sense that Hanna is watching him. Later, Hanna's investigation team is following McCauley's crooks as they seem to be casing a job. Everyone on the team is puzzled, as there seems to be nothing there worth stealing, until after a few seconds Hanna reads McCauley's mind and figures out that what McCauley and company have actually done is lure the police into exposing their surveillance team.
  • Subverted in The Usual Suspects. Although it could be considered playing to the trope as the crooks are the main characters, the main detective's obsession with one of those crooks leads him to completely miss the true Diabolical Mastermind (who is responsible for killing off the rest of his Five-Man Band of crooks), until it's too late.
  • In Rise of the Guardians, when Pitch is about to make his move against the Guardians, Nicholas St. North warns his fellow Guardians, "He's up to something. I can feel it, in my belly!"


    Live-Action TV 
  • 24: Jack Bauer.
  • A Touch of Frost: Jack Frost.
  • As a former spy, Michael Weston from Burn Notice has a very well developed sense of intuition that he uses constantly and frequently needs to depend on in life and death situations. In an early episode, he senses that a target is attempting to Bluff the Impostor, (with Michael being the impostor) and instinctively responds in just the perfect way. He later admits to Sam that it was pure luck that he was right about the bluff and gave an answer that didn't blow his cover. However, improvisation is also a great skill of Michael's. Notably, later in the show's run he faces a nearly identical Bluff the Impostor situation and gets the answer wrong, and then immediately makes up a story that satisfies the person who was questioning him.
  • Due South: Ray often acts on his hunches, which he has based on his having grown up in Chicago and spent years working as a cop. Fraser gets a hunch of his own about midway through the miniseries. His hunch was wrong, and he and Ray almost get killed for it.

    Web Original 
  • The Water-Human correctly guesses the identity, and the goals, of the Spy who tried to impersonate the Large Beetle. Not because the spy looked nothing like the Beetle, but because Water-Human just made a lucky random guess.
    • Later on, the Large Beetle, upon realizing that Water-Human is in a city, somehow correctly deduces the entire plot so far, even though he had no idea what was going on since episode one.

    Western Animation 
  • Teen Titans: Raven's psychic flash when Terra returns leads to instant (accurate) distrust, but the reclusive loner disliking someone doesn't raise any alarms.
    • Interestingly, in the original comics Raven never trusted Terra, but felt she should wait for evidence before doing anything about it. Considering that she was an actual empath, and Terra was a vicious psychotic, you'd have thought just standing next to her would have been enough.

(He's okay, I can feel it.)

    Anime & Manga 
  • Particularly in Digimon Adventure, but continuing into Digimon Adventure 02, Hikari has this ability for both 1 and 3. This is Justified with her crest of light, which supposedly gives her extra good v. evil-related abilities that are vaguely alluded to throughout 02 without ever being fully explained.

  • The following conversation from The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King: "How do we know Frodo is still alive?" "What does your heart tell you?"
  • Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi: Leia is completely calm at seeing the explosion of the Death Star, despite knowing that Luke was on it. When Han tries to reassure her that Luke made it off the Death Star, she nonchalantly says "I know he did, I can feel it". (May be a case of My Significance Sense Is Tingling, despite the fact that Leia doesn't have any Force training.) And of course, whenever someone has a bad feeling about this, they're right.
  • Firefly movie Serenity. When Zoe, the second-in-command is asked if she thinks their captain succeeded in carrying out the goal of their near suicide mission, Zoe confidently replies that she knows he did. The next scene begins with the captain, not only not having done so but getting knocked flat on his face by the Necessarily Evil Worthy Opponent who is preventing him from doing so. However he eventually wins the fight and proves Zoe right.

  • Subverted in the Left Behind book series, where one character's wife is believed to have died when a plane crashed into the ocean, but he has a gut feeling she's alive. He investigates the wreckage... and finds her body.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Halfway through the second season of Stargate Atlantis, Sheppard insists that Ford is still alive despite being caught in a No One Could Survive That! situation, and not escaping with him. Apparently subverted in that Ford is never heard from again, and Sheppard has reason to engage in wishful thinking, as he has obvious issues stemming from his poor (for The Hero) track record in saving comrades.
  • On Lost the entire first season, Rose calmly asserts to the other survivors that her husband Bernard is alive and that she can feel it despite Bernard being in the tail section that separated during the crash. Early in season two she is proven correct.


    Video Games 
  • Carth Onasi insists in Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords that Revan is not dead: "I feel like I would know!" By this point, of course, Carth has demonstrated a degree of prescience on several occasions (his Wookieepedia entry questions whether or not he's Force Sensitive), so he's not pulling this particular gut feeling out of nowhere. Carth appears to have an extremely well-honed BS detector. Part of it is borderline paranoia after being betrayed so horribly, but even when he's over most of those issues, he will frequently point out that something is very wrong with the whole setup, the Jedi, and your Player Character. And he turns out dead right on all fronts. In the comic story, his instincts about Zayne Carrick also turn out to be right, despite the bounty on Zayne's head.
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: At the onset of the quest to find Thorald Gray-Mane, the quest giver, Thorald's mother, displays this heavily when told her son is dead, insisting that he's still alive (and he indeed is). So does Thorald's brother when you talk to him.

  • In The Order of the Stick, Elan emphatically insisted that Haley "is NOT dead," even though he had no proof and three months' worth of attempts to magically contact her or see what had happened to her had all been unsuccessful. Despite nearly everyone else having given up hope, it turns out he was right.

    Western Animation 
  • An American Tail: Tanya still believes Fievel is alive and somewhere out there... and even sings a song to that effect.
  • Subverted in the episode of The Simpsons with Shary Bobbins. At the end, as she's flying off with her umbrella, Homer tells the kids that he has a feeling they'll be seeing her again real soon. Meanwhile, in the background behind him, we see Shary get sucked into a jet engine and ripped to shreds.
  • In Winx Club, Timmy refuses to believe, like everyone else does, that Tecna is dead after she falls into the Omega Dimension; he tells Riven that if she was dead he would feel it, but he knows she's still alive.

(Other Examples)

    Anime & Manga 
  • Ayakashi Triangle: After Matsuri is split into a boy and girl, one of which has to be a clone, none of Reo's Magitek tests can tell which. Despite this, Shadow Mei is able to feel the boy was "made from grudges" like she was, and thus the clone. Girl Matsuri can also feel that even if she's the human, destroying boy Matsuri will keep her from ever being a boy again.

    Fan Works 
  • When Lily is learning to brew Wolfsbane Potion in The Peace Not Promised, she learns that Severus had no idea it was possible to set an alarm on the pocket watch she had given him. This despite the fact that he can successfully brew potions that require extraordinarily precise timing, becoming useless if heated for 5 seconds too long and violently explosive after 30 seconds more. How has he been doing it? "Instinct."

  • Star Wars:
    • Averted in Episode VI: Return of the Jedi'', Han Solo says, "I've just got a feeling I might not see her again," as the Millennium Falcon flies off to do battle with the Death Star. He does.
    • Twisted a little in The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones; When Anakin leaves his mother behind on Tatooine, she tries to convince him that they will meet again. They do, a film later, but only when she's dying.
  • Barton Keyes in Double Indemnity can always detect a phony insurance claim by gut feeling, personified as a "little man" who lives in his stomach and ties knots in it when something is wrong with a claim. Subverted in that he apparently fails to get any bad feelings about the guy who actually committed the murder, and almost pins it on an innocent man instead.

  • Animorphs: At the end of book 50, Cassie gets the feeling that allowing the Yeerks to steal the morphing cube is the right thing to do. She can't explain the why to Jake, and problems quickly arise now that the Animorphs have to face dozens of morph-capable Controllers at once. Three books later, two different factions of Yeerks rebel against their leadership, one because they now have the power to morph, and the other because they were denied the power to morph, giving the Animorphs their last shot at victory and proving Cassie was right despite all odds.
  • The concept is discussed in one story of the Starfleet Corps of Engineers as something P8 "Pattie" Blue has learnt to respect, due to influence from the other races she works with:
    Though she knew she'd be checking out other facilities, Pattie had a good feeling about this one. One thing she'd learned from softs was to trust intuition. More times than she cared to recall, one of her crewmates had said something along the lines of "I have a bad feeling about this," and the feeling had proved to be an accurate barometer of the situation. As she walked down the corridor, she fingered the pouch containing the datachip. Yes, I definitely have a good feeling about this.
  • In Star Trek: Titan, another alien character, very Literal-Minded, tests the phenomenon by putting nanites in the food to monitor his crewmates' intestines.
  • In Star Trek: Department of Temporal Investigations, Agent Dulmur has one of these regarding a connection between a temporal anomaly from the previous year and the vortex phenomenon he's currently investigating. His senior partner Lucsly advises against "gut feelings", saying that everything their Department deals with is counter-intuitive anyway. Nonetheless, Lucsly doesn't entirely dismiss Dulmur's insight, but insists on waiting until he has supporting evidence.
  • Finally, the concept is discussed in Star Trek: Cast No Shadow, in which Elias Vaughn is frustrated when his superior dismisses gut feelings.
  • In Mistborn, Vin has remarkably good instincts. Elend notes that she will come up with seemingly random conclusions, based on nothing more than gut feeling... that will be absolutely right.
  • It is discussed in Codex Alera that Princeps Septimus would sometimes know things that he couldn't have, such as casually mentioning something that wouldn't happen for months and the events happening exactly as he said. Interestingly, it's also stated he apparently didn't realize it most of the time and his friends resorted to writing them down and showing it to him when it came true. Tavi inherited a little bit of it, and Alera admits she may be unconsciously passing them information.
  • In Thud! Fred Colon warns Sam Vimes that he can "feel in his water" that there's something going on with the dwarfs. Vimes muses on how well "Fred Colon's Water" will hold up in court, but concludes that an old street-monster like Fred Colon (who, at that point, has walked a beat for well over three decades) has more than enough experience to make that call even with the very limited information he has, and if Colon believes there's reason to worry, there probably is.
  • Once: Thom Kindred recalls his undine-turned-human mother Bethan's talk of the "inner voice," an unimpeachable awareness, innate to all, and distinct from the flesh it inhabits.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Breaking Bad: Walter and Jesse have set up a plan to get Gus out into the open, and give Walt an opportunity to plant a bomb under his car. Everything's going exactly as planned, up until Gus is walking back to his car, when he suddenly stops, apparently sensing something amiss. Then he walks back the other way, leaving Walt in utter confusion of how he could have possibly known, asking Jesse incredulously if Gus has some kind of sixth-sense for danger. It doesn't save him from the bomb in the following episode though...
  • A big part of The Colbert Report's satire is making fun of politicians who make arguments that feel correct rather than basing them on fact. Colbert often states proudly that he "thinks with his gut" rather than let educated analysis get in the way.
  • In Lessons for a Perfect Detective Story Banzo states that he knows the murderer in one episode is the one with the perfect alibi due to his gut instinct. Fujii responds that it's the stupidest thing he's ever said because there's no justification for it and because he's always wrong.
  • Monarch: Legacy of Monsters "Aftermath": Lee Shaw has a bad feeling about approaching the Endoswarmer nest in the abandoned Kazakh power plant, despite Keiko and Bill both being confident that it's okay. It turns out Lee's gut was right when the eggs hatch and swarm him and Keiko, killing the latter.


    Western Animation 
  • Adventure Time: "Your gut says he's evil, my gut says he's good/ Why not put our guts together and end this funky feud!"
  • DuckTales (1987): Scrooge has Launchpad fly him to Cat Island to investigate why his fishing fleet hasn't made contact for weeks, saying, "I have a funny feeling something weird has happened here." When they arrive and find the fishing boats abandoned but no fisherman, Launchpad echoes, "I have a funny feeling your funny feeling was right, Mr. McD."
  • Parodied in Transformers: Animated. When Optimus and Sentinel do some investigation, Sentinel is ambushed by Masterson the Headmaster, and when Optimus finds Sentinel’s severed head, he’s contacted by Bumblebee who informs him that Powl had hired Masterson, leading Optimus to let it slip that he suspected that he was back in action. When Bumblebee asks how, Sentinel tries to shut Optimus up, and he simply quips with: "Call it a hunch."