The two main characters from Disco Elysium, Harry and Kim, on the dock.

Complete Disco Elysium Thought Cabinet Guide

It's best to keep an open mind if you want the best bonuses.

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Carley is a professional JP-EN translator and writer currently based in Des Moines, Iowa. She has written hundreds of articles for popular sites such as Siliconera, Gameranx, and Otaquest, and has been playing games nonstop since 1996.

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Reyadh is a writer of fantasy, horror, and science fiction who loves to play video games full of monsters and magic. When he's not scribing unique and unrelenting speculative fiction or slaying demons in virtual worlds, he is writing strategy guides to help others reach their gaming goals.

Key Takeaway

There are 53 Thoughts in total within Disco Elysium. Although some Thoughts are the polar opposite of others, so it’s impossible to earn every Thought in a single playthrough.

Overall, there are a total of 12 empty slots in the Thought Cabinet. At the start of the game, however, you’ll only have access to 3. With that said, once you have an available skill point from leveling up, enter the Thought Cabinet and click on the Thought you’d like to forget to free up a slot.

Here’s our list of recommended thoughts:

  • Actual Art Degree – passive Conceptualization skill checks give more +10 XP
  • Jamais Vu (Derealization) – gives you +1 XP for each orb clicked and unlocks more dialogue options
  • Wompty-Dompty Dom Centre – rewards you with +10 XP and 2 reál for each Encyclopedia passive check
  • The Fifteenth Indotribe – rewards you with +10 cents for every green orb you click
  • Ace’s High or Ace’s Low – unlocks more dialogue options with Kim
  • The Bow Collector – helps you pass a difficult Shivers skill check later in the game

With the Thought Cabinet in Disco Elysium, you have the freedom to craft your character’s persona. You’ll occasionally form new Thoughts which can be internalized, altering your identity and influencing your beliefs. Unlocking and internalizing certain Thoughts can change your stats, unlock dialogue options, or grant unique bonuses.

Table Of Contents

    What Is the Thought Cabinet?

    Your character remembers absolutely nothing about himself or the world around him. As you start to explore your surroundings and chat with the game’s characters, new Thoughts will begin to appear in your Thought Cabinet in Disco Elysium. It’s up to you to choose which Thoughts are worth internalizing and which aren’t worth your time.

    The Thought Cabinet in Disco Elysium.

    Any Thoughts you choose to internalize help define who you are. As you build your identity, you’ll also gain helpful bonuses depending on the Thoughts you keep. There is no right or wrong way to stock your Thought Cabinet—each playthrough can be entirely different based on the stats and ideas you prioritize.

    Certain Thoughts are the polar opposite of others, so it’s impossible to earn every Thought in a single playthrough.

    To access the Thought Cabinet, select the head silhouette inside the diamond at the bottom right of the screen. Clicking on this allows you to see the Thoughts you’re aware of, the Thoughts you’ve internalized, and the Thoughts you haven’t yet discovered.

    How to Find and Research New Thoughts

    Upon entering the Thought Cabinet, you’ll find a complete list of available Thoughts. There are 53 total, and they will appear in faded text until they are properly discovered. Discovered Thoughts that have not yet been internalized will appear in white.

    Thoughts can be discovered in many different ways, including how you talk about yourself to other characters and how you approach politics. Reacting in a certain way during an event, passing specific checks, or asking the right questions can grant you new Thoughts as well.

    For example, talking about motor carriages with Kim enough times will unlock the Torque Dork Thought. Leaning towards Fascism enough times in conversation will unlock the Revacholian Nationhood Thought. Wondering where you’re from will unlock the Lonesome Long Way Home Thought, and so on.

    Once you unlock a Thought, you can internalize it as long as you have an empty slot in your Thought Cabinet. Internalizing a Thought takes a certain amount of in-game time. During this time, your character will often suffer a stat penalty.

    You’ll want to take a good look at the Temporary Bonus/Penalty list below before internalizing a Thought. You cannot internalize a Thought while your character sleeps, so make sure any actions you plan on taking won’t be negatively impacted while the Thought is being processed.

    After the required time has passed, the new Thought is added to your Cabinet. Each Thought grants you a Permanent Bonus/Penalty as long as it is slotted within the Thought Cabinet in Disco Elysium.

    All 53 Thoughts in Disco Elysium

    Below is a complete list of Thoughts found within the Thought Cabinet in Disco Elysium, along with their temporary bonuses or penalties, permanent bonuses or penalties, the time they take to internalize, and their method of discovery.

    A piece of artwork abstractly depicting every thought in Disco Elysium.
    NameResearch TimeTemporary Bonus/PenaltyPermanent Bonus/PenaltyHow to Get
    Ace's High2h 45m+1 Empathy towards Kim+1 Empathy towards Kim
    +1 Esprit de Corps
    After successfully shooting down the Hanged Man, give Kim a high-five, but don't give him an Ace's Low.
    Ace's Low2h 45m+2 Empathy towards Kim+2 Empathy towards Kim
    +1 Esprit de Corps
    After successfully shooting down the Hanged Man, give Kim a high-five and wait for an Ace's Low.

    *Requires Interfacing ≥5
    Actual Art Degree1h 30m-1 Perception-1 Hand/Eye Coordination

    Conceptualization passives heal +1 Morale and give +10 XP
    Choose four art-based dialogue options and agree to bring an Art Cop when the Conceptualization thought orb appears.
    Advanced Race Theory1h 40m-1 DramaLearning Cap for Rhetoric raised to 5

    +1 Conceptualization
    Talk to Measurehead on the closed gate blocking the harbor and pass the Conceptualization check to agree with his theory.
    Anti-Object Task Force2h 15m-2 Pain ThresholdAttacking physical objects heals damage

    +1 Pain Threshold

    All FYS learning caps raised by 1
    Continually hit inanimate objects.
    Apricot Chewing Gum Scented One5h 5m-1 Reaction Speed+2 PerceptionAfter finding your ledger in the Whirling-in-Rags dumpster, smell the note attached to it. Additionally, check the jeans in the coal room near Cindy the Skull to find another wrapper and examine it, taking a deep breath.
    Arno van Eyck50m+1 InterfacingAll MOT white checks unlocked

    Reveal Arno van Eyck gig posters in the world
    After setting up the church nightclub, Egghead will ask you to find a Reel of Magnetic Tape. It's in a Hawthorn tree near Siileng, the clothes vendor. Bring it back to Egghead.
    Bankruptcy Sequence5h 15m-1 EmpathyInt Check Failures give 1 reálSuccessfully pitch a bad idea to the Mega Rich Light-Bending Guy in the locked Harbor container.
    Boiadeiro6h 30m-1 Physical Instrument-1 Esprit De Corps

    Cigarettes give +2 INT
    With a low Encyclopedia score, pass an Inland Empire check when taking to Mañana. He can be found on the stairs watching the strike.
    Bringing of the Law (Law-Jaw)2h 55m-1 RhetoricLearning Cap for Hand/Eye Coordination raised to 6

    Automatically Succeed all Hand/Eye Coordination passives

    -1 Rhetoric
    Refer to yourself as "The Law", "Lawbringer", or a policeman multiple times.
    Caustic Echo10h+1 Volition+300 XP on Completion

    -1 Authority

    All MOT learning caps raised by 1
    Open the secret compartment in your Damaged Ledger and throw the card into the wind.

    *You must be outside.
    Cleaning Out the Rooms5h 35mN/A+1 Suggestion
    +1 Inland Empire
    +1 Rhetoric
    After investigating the mysterious lack of sound in the church at Land's End, talk to Soona and pass a logic check. (Day 3+)
    Coach Physical Instrument40m-2 Encyclopedia+2 Physical Instrument if shirt slot is empty

    -1 Encyclopedia
    Talk to Rene, the old man playing pentanque outside the Whirling-in-Rags. Observe rather than play, ask questions, then fail the check to play at the end.

    *Requires ≥ 2 points in Physical Instrument.
    Col Do Ma Ma Daqua7h 10mN/A+3 Perception
    -1 Encyclopedia
    Talk to Lena about the invisible Phasmid, then go outside. Listen to the thought that will prompt you to listen closely.
    Cop of the Apocalypse6h 55m-1 RhetoricLearning cap for Inland Empire raised to 6

    Learning cap for Shivers raised to 6

    Pyrholidon gives +2 PSY
    Agree to being an Apocalypse Cop after choosing 4 related dialogue options.
    Date of Birth Generator7h 15mN/ALearning Cap for Logic raised to 4

    -1 difficulty to all FYS passives
    Wonder when you were born in dialogue or in thought.
    Detective Costeau2h 30m-2 Conceptualization+1 Savoir Faire
    +1 Esprit de Corps
    Refuse your real name when it is offered to you, fail the Conceptualization check to consider your name and refer to yourself over and over as Detective Costeau.
    Fairweather T-5003h 30m-1 Savoir Faire+2 Hand/Eye Coordination against enemies in FT-500 armorAfter finding one of four pieces of the Fairweather T-500 armor, equip it.
    Finger on the Eject Button2h+2 Authority
    +2 Suggestion
    Suicidal ideas every eveningHave numerous suicidal thoughts and dialogue choices.

    *Requires ≥5 points in Pain Threshold. You must also fail the Hardie boys Authority check.
    Finger Pistols (9mm)1h-2 Savoir Faire+1 Reaction Speed

    Empty hand slots give Suggestion +1
    Talk to Siileng, the clothes seller, and make finger guns at him.

    *Requires ≥5 points in Composure.
    Guillaume le Million4h 30m-1 Logic+1 Pain Threshold

    All PSY Learning Caps raised by 1
    Interact with the mirror in your room at the Whirling-in-Rags or the Coastal Shack and pass an Encyclopedia check.
    Hardcore Aesthetic1h 50m-2 Interfacing+1 Volition
    +1 Endurance
    Sync sines with Noid, then pass the resulting Conceptualization check after forming the Church nightclub.
    Hobocop4h 20m-1 ComposureReveals extra Tare bottles on the map

    More money from selling tare bottles

    Learning cap for Shivers raised to 6
    Refer to yourself as homeless in dialogue or sleep outside for a night.
    Homo-Sexual Underground8hN/AStopped obsessing about sexuality

    Allows Harry to discuss sexuality with Kim
    Pass the Composure check when first talking to the Smoker on the Balcony, then ask if he's in the homo-sexual underground after he appears in the Whirling-in-Rags.
    Indirect Modes of Taxation1h 45m-2 EmpathyUltraliberal dialogue options give +1 reál

    -1 Empathy
    Acquired immediately if you wear the the Brown Derbies, or after 4 Ultraliberal points have been earned.
    Inexplicable Feminist Agenda3h 45m+2 Authority vs Males+1 Empathy
    -1 Electrochemistry
    Claim to be a feminist after Garte admits what he believes the true reason behind Sylvie leaving was.
    Jamais Vu (Derealization)3h 25mN/A+1 XP for every orb clicked

    All INT learning caps raised by 1
    Speak to Lena about reality, then speak to Joyce and ask her where you are.
    Kingdom of Conscience1h 25m-2 Half-lightMoralist Dialogue options heal +1 Morale

    Learning Cap for Volition raised to 5

    Learning cap for Logic raised to 5
    Acquired immediately if Harry wears the Interisolary Trousers, or after 4 Moralism points have been earned.
    Lonesome Long Way Home6h 5m+1 EncyclopediaPerception learning cap raised to 5

    Speed gives 1 PSY
    Wonder where you live in dialogue or thought.
    Magnesium-Based Lifeform1h 15m-1 Shivers+2 Volition
    -1 Logic
    Speak to Cuno about the Magnesium found in his shack.

    *Requires high Composure
    Mazovian Socio-Economics3h 10m-2 Visual CalculusLeft-wing Dialogue options give +4 XP

    -1 Visual Calculus
    -1 Authority
    Acquired after Harry earns 4 Communism points and doesn't discard the thought.
    Motorway South8h 10m-1 Visual Calculus+1 Inland Empire

    All INT White Checks Unlocked
    Speak to Joyce about reality, then question her about the Pale. After this, go to the elderly woman by the statue and ask her the same thing.
    One More Door45m+1 Half-light-1 Half-Light

    All PSY White Checks Unlocked
    Try to open the bunker door North of the Church and fail.
    Opioid Receptor Antagonist55m-2 ElectrochemistryNo positive effects from drugs

    No negative effects from alcohol
    Insist that Klaasje Amandou's drugs are nothing to be proud of.
    Overproductive Honour Glands20m-4 DramaLearning cap for Authority raised to 5Act honorably, take no bribes, and refer to yourself as an Honor Cop when prompted.
    Regular Law Official1h 20m-2 Inland Empire-1 Shivers
    -1 Inland Empire

    All learning caps raised to 3
    Agree to being a Boring Cop after choosing 4 related dialogue options.
    Remote Viewers Division6h-1 Perception-1 Difficulty to all PSY Passive Checks

    -1 Drama
    Show interest in the Remote Viewers Division, ESP, and the para-natural whenever it is brought up.
    Revacholian Nationhood9h 10m-1 ComposureNationalist dialogue options damage -1 Morale

    Alcohol gives +2 FYS
    Choose multiple pro-fascistic dialogue options.
    Rigorous Self-Critique6h-1 AuthorityINT and PSY Red Check failures heal +1 Morale

    FYS and MOT Red Check failures heal +1 Health

    Learning Cap for Pain Threshold increased to +6
    Apologize repeatedly and feel constantly sorry for yourself. Agree to being a Sorry Cop after choosing 4 related dialogue options.
    Searchlight Division3h 15mN/A+2 PerceptionAcquired after Harry speaks to Lena, Lilienne, and the Working Class Woman about missing people.
    Some kind of Superstar1h 10m-2 Logic-1 Logic

    Learning cap for Visual Calculus raised to 6

    Learning cap for Suggestion raised to 6

    Learning cap for Electrochemistry raised to 6

    Learning cap for Composure raised to 6
    Choose multiple dialogue options where you claim to be a rock star.
    The Bow Collector6h 10m-1 Authority
    -1 Hand/Eye Coordination
    +3 ShiversRead the note in your ledger and choose "Bow Collector" when talking to your Ancient Reptilian Brain.

    *Requires ≥ 6 Conceptualization / Must not have thrown away the card inside the Damaged Ledger
    The Fifteenth Indotribe5h 55mN/A+10 cents for each green orb clicked

    Learning Cap for Savoir Faire raised to 6
    Talk to Joyce about Wild Pines and how they control so much cargo.
    The Insulindian Miracle7h 45mN/AAll White Checks unlockedTell Joyce Messier about the Union's ultimate end goal and listens to her explanation of the history of the isolas' discovery.
    The Jamrock Shuffle1h 5m-1 Espirit de CorpsFind better loot in locked containersBreak into three places.
    The Litany of Contact Mike15m-1 Logic
    -1 Conceptualization
    -1 Drama
    All FYS White Checks unlockedSpeak to Acele about Contact Mike. Acele can be found next to the tent at Land's End.

    *Requires ≥8 Encyclopedia
    The Precarious World4hAll red checks failCritical success/failure thresholds -1Talk to the Dice Maker above the bookstore, and pass the Shivers check in her dialogue.
    The Suicide of Kras Mazov4h 45m-1 Rhetoric+1 Rhetoric

    White Check failures heal all Morale
    Break into the apartment in the building behind the crime scene and examine the bust of Kras Mazov. Insist that you are Kras Mazov.
    Torque Dork25m-2 Conceptualization+2 Interfacing

    All Interfacing White Checks unlocked
    Talk about motor carriages with Kim multiple times.

    *Requires ≥4 Interfacing
    Volumetric Shit Compressor30mN/AAll currently locked white Endurance checks unlocked

    Learning cap for Endurance raised to 4
    Throw up twice while examining the corpse of the Hanged Man.
    Waste Land of Reality20h-2 Physical Instrument-1 Physical Instrument
    -1 Inland Empire
    -1 Suggestion

    +1 to all PSY skills

    No positive effects from Alcohol
    Either speak to Measurehead after internalizing Advanced Race Theory and tell him he needs to get sober, or speak to Tiago on Day 3+.
    White Mourning5h-1 Authority+20% Zoom Out Distance

    All MOT learning caps raised by 1
    Read the note in your ledger and pass the Interfacing check.
    Wompty-Dompty Dom Centre42m-1 SuggestionEncyclopedia passives give +10 XP and +2 reál

    -2 Suggestion
    Go to the building next to the boardwalk on Land's End and talk to the man admiring the mural with his kid.

    How to Unlock New Slots in the Thought Cabinet

    There are a total of 12 empty slots in the Thought Cabinet. At the start of the game, however, you’ll only have access to 3.

    Each time your character levels up, you’ll have the option to either increase one of your skills or unlock a new slot in the Thought Cabinet. When presented with this option, click on a locked slot in the Thought Cabinet to unlock it using your skill point.

    How to Forget Thoughts

    As you progress through the game, your priorities may change, or you may discover a Thought that is more useful. With limited space within the Thought Cabinet in Disco Elysium, you won’t want to waste a slot on a Thought you’ve outgrown.

    Once you have an available skill point from leveling up, enter the Thought Cabinet and click on the Thought you’d like to forget to free up the slot.

    Copotypes and Thoughts

    Your character, Harry, is a cop. But what kind of cop is he? Depending on your preferences and how you refer to yourself in conversations with other characters, you’ll eventually be assigned a certain ‘Copotype.’ Different Copotypes result in Harry coming up with different unique Thoughts.

    There are 7 of these Copotypes in all:

    • The Superstar Cop
    • The Apocolypse Cop
    • The Sorry Cop
    • The Boring Cop
    • The Honor Cop
    • The Hobocop
    • The Art Cop

    Recommended Thoughts

    There are no right or wrong Thoughts to internalize in any given playthrough of Disco Elysium. However, the following Thoughts can be particularly helpful; as they offer additional experience, money, stat boosts, or other useful effects.

    Actual Art Degree

    After choosing enough Art-related dialogue options, you’ll be contacted by your Conceptualization. This unlocks the Actual Art Degree Thought.

    Although this Thought slightly lowers your Hand-Eye Coordination, it comes with an extremely helpful bonus: passive Conceptualization skill checks will heal +1 Morale and give you +10 XP. With over 400 passive Conceptualization skill checks in the game, this Thought can help you level up much quicker if acquired early in the game.

    Jamais Vu (Derealization)

    The artwork symbolizing the Jamais Vu thought in Disco Elysium, with several faces arranged in a circle.

    Disco Elysium introduces this Thought in a powerful way, claiming that it “feels like the most important of all the Thoughts; the one you truly must complete.” While internalizing Jamais Vu isn’t a requirement, it offers a helpful XP boost and some additional dialogue later in the game. It’s also easily unlocked at the very beginning of the game.

    Speak with Lena, the wheelchair-bound woman at the Whirling-in-Rags, and ask her to explain reality. After she suggests that you speak to someone more intelligent, head to the docks and find Joyce standing on a boat. Speak with her and ask her the same question to unlock the Thought.

    Jamais Vu will give you +1 XP for each orb clicked. That may not sound impressive, but the extra experience is incredibly helpful toward the beginning of the game. You’ll want to replace this Thought later in the game, but there’s no reason to skip it at the start.

    Wompty-Dompty Dom Centre

    Money is an important resource in Disco Elysium, but lining your pockets isn’t always easy. The Wompty-Dompty Dom Centre Thought will reward you with +10 XP and 2 reál for each Encyclopedia passive check. The game has mountains of lore, so these checks are incredibly common.

    To unlock this Thought, head to the boardwalk on or after Day 3. Talk to Trant Heidelstam, the man admiring the mural with his son. Chatting with him about nerdy things will cause this Thought to pop up.

    The Fifteenth Indotribe

    A bizarre and abstract piece of art depicting the Fifteenth Indotribe in Disco Elysium.

    The Fifteenth Indotribe is another helpful moneymaker. Internalizing this Thought rewards you with +10 cents for every green orb you click. As you explore the streets of Revachol, colored orbs will occasionally pop up around your character’s head. Green orbs represent passive observations, and these appear quite frequently throughout the game.

    To unlock this Thought, speak with Joyce Messier on her boat at the docks. Exhaust all possible conversation options related to Wild Pines, and be sure to choose the option “8 percent of all cargo in the world.”

    Ace’s High or Ace’s Low

    If you’re behaving like a respectable police officer, you may not need either of these Thoughts. However, if you’re choosing to drink, smoke, and cause problems for your partner Kim, picking up one of these Thoughts can help with approval. Kim is very by-the-book, and internalizing either Ace’s High or Ace’s Low will build more trust with him, unlocking more dialogue options that can be critical later in the game.

    To unlock Ace’s High, give Kim a high five after shooting down The Hanging Man’s corpse behind the Whirling-in-Rags. For Ace’s Low, follow up your high five with a down low. These will grant you +1 and +2 Empathy with Kim, respectively.

    The Bow Collector

    A strange man with protrusions coming from his eyes to symbolize the Bow Collector thought in Disco Elysium.

    While you’re free to choose the stats most important or interesting to you during your playthrough, the main plot implements a rather difficult Shivers skill check later in the game. Passing this is vital, and to boost your chances of success, The Bow Collector is a must.

    When you find your Damaged Ledger in the dumpster behind the Whirling-in-Rags, read the entire note inside. You’ll need to have +6 Conceptualization to access the Thought. Respond to your Ancient Reptilian Brain by choosing “There was something about a bow collector too…”

    This Thought will give you +3 Shivers, which will also unlock other unique happenings throughout your playthrough.

    Prioritizing different Thoughts during each playthrough of Disco Elysium can completely alter the direction and aura of the game—much like how you can alter your physical direction with the use of fast travel. Whether you want to spend time obsessing over your own sexuality or become a fully-fledged rock star, anything is possible in this narrative masterpiece.