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RedDeerGuy1's avatar

Why do people in deep thought touch their temples with their fingers?

Asked by RedDeerGuy1 (19358points) May 13th, 2021

How does it aid in concentration?

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12 Answers

AK's avatar

It is just a behavioral quirk and I’m sure it varies with people. Some of them touch their temples, some squint and look faraway (into the horizon, lost in their thoughts), some tug on their earlobes, some bite their lower lip…..I’m a ‘ceiling stare-er’.I stare at the ceiling wide eyed when I’m lost in thought. My son scrunches up his mouth to one side when he thinks deep and when he’s playing chess, he places his left palm on his chin and rests that elbow on the table and then goes deep into his calculations….my wife is a ‘random object stare-er’ when she’s cooking up new techniques to show me how useless I am ! varies and some of us have many such quirks, depending on the situation.

elbanditoroso's avatar

It is doing so for electrical reasons. Touching the forehead completes an electrical circuit from the body to the brain, providing additional (although very low level) amperage to the brain. That is often enough to kick the brain into ‘high gear’ (not a technical term) and think more clearly.

Lest you think I am making this up:


and another

mazingerz88's avatar

One of the reasons, maybe headache.

kritiper's avatar

It’s just something people do. Like putting the tips of their fingers together when they speculate. Or cross their arms in front of them when they feel defensive. Or spread their arms open wide when they are being open and honest.
It’s called Body Language.

Inspired_2write's avatar

For me i tend to look up and away to cut out distractions as I am thinking for a solution and so on.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I think it’s an instinctive understanding, a nod, if you will, acknowledging that it’s the brain doing all the work, even if you don’t know what the brain is or what it does.

I enjoyed your hypothesis @elbanditoroso, but neither of your articles backed it up. Your articles just said the brain uses electrochemical impulses to think.

Response moderated (Spam)
LostInParadise's avatar

It might be a symbolic gesture to get the brain cranking.

The ancient Egyptians thought that thinking was done with the heart and that the brain was useless and not needed in mummies. I wonder if they pounded their chests to try to solve a problem.

cookieman's avatar

To make it easier to summon the X-Men.

Pandora's avatar

I always thought it just helps with cutting off distractions. Like when I’m puzzling with a problem I may rest my forehead in my palm as my thumb and pinky rest on either side of my temple. It helps cut out lights and anything that can be distracting me from focusing. But more often then not I will mostly do that if I happen to have a headache and it’s not letting me focus.

@elbanditoroso That is interesting.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@LostInParadise…men think that pounding their chest solves all problems. AND gets them laid. :)

cookieman's avatar

^^ All men???

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