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Abstract Thought is a location inside Riley Andersen's mind in the 2015 Disney/Pixar film, Inside Out. It is a building complex in which Riley's abstract thought is located, classified as dangerous, since any being that enters the building would lose its body shape.


Stage One: Non-Objective Fragmentation

Upon Abstract thought activating, the person's body within the building become crudely-made 3D structures like that of a Picasso painting.

Stage Two: Deconstruction

The person's body begins to fragment into separate sections, break down, and fall apart.

Stage Three: Two-Dimensionalization

A while after Stage Two is complete, the screen compresses the character into a slim vertical line, and when it expands, the character becomes simple 2-D drawings.

Stage Four: Non-Figurativity

Then the person enters the final stage, where they become nothing but single-colored geometric shapes of their bodies. It is unknown, however, that if people might become unforgotten in this stage, as it doesn't show.

Eventually, the person has to be quick to escape to the exit of Abstract Thought. Some solutions, during Stage Four, are a better idea, like Sadness told Joy and Bing Bong to fall flat on their faces, which made a line replacing the shapes, to exit.

Role in the film

While trying to find the path back to Emotion Headquarters, Joy and Sadness encounter Bing Bong, who tells them he knows a shortcut for arriving to the Train of Thought. However, the shortcut, which happens to be Abstract Thought, is dangerous, even displaying a sign that says to keep out. However, due to Bing Bong's illiteracy, he thinks it's safe to go in, but Sadness, who read about it in the Mind Manuals, tried to warn them that they shouldn't go in there, but they doubted her. Seeing Bing Bong walk in with no problems, Joy and Sadness proceed to follow.

When two mind workers arrive to Abstract Thought, one of the workers notices something moving inside, so she activates Abstract Thought to get rid of it. With Abstract Thought turned on, everything in the building begins floating. At that moment, Joy, Sadness, and Bing Bong start to suffer through the fallowing: First, as Joy, Sadness, and Bing Bong figure out what's happening, their bodies become Picasso-esque blocky structures. As Joy asks what's happening, Sadness tells her that they're going through the four stages of abstract thought (which she read about in the Mind Manuals), and they're just in the first. Bing Bong tells them stay calm and keep together. However, just as he finishes his sentence, his left arm falls off. The three heroes' bodies begin to break down and fall apart. With that happening, Joy, Sadness, and Bing Bong attempt to make a run for the exit while struggling to hold their bodies up. Sadness quickly tells them that if they don't escape, they're going to be trapped in Abstract Thought forever as nothing but shape and color. When Joy questions Bing Bong why they entered in Abstract Thought, he just replies by saying it's a shortcut. Moments later, the train arrives. As the three make a run for the exit, the screen compresses them, and when it expands, the three characters are now 2-D drawings. No matter how fast they're running, they're not moving. It turns out the reason they aren't moving is because of the lack of depth (because they're 2-D figures). Joy, Sadness, and Bing Bong climb up to the exit's floor level, but they're too big to fit through the small exit. The three then enter the final stage, where they become nothing but single-colored geometric shapes (Joy is a yellow 8-pointed star, Sadness is a small blue blob, and Bing Bong is a tall pink, trunk-like figure).

When Bing Bong declares that they aren't going to make it out in time, Sadness becomes a thin line by falling on her face. She tells Joy and Bing Bong to do what she's doing so they can slither out the door, and they proceed to do so.

The three successfully make it out of Abstract Thought just in time. But, unfortunately, it was too late, as the train has just left. With the three out, they begin to revert to their normal selves. Luckily for them, another train station was nearby, right inside Imagination Land.



  • Joy and Sadness' appearance during Stage Four appears to be a reference to their performance models (Joy being a star, and Sadness being a teardrop).
    • Likewise, Bing Bong becomes a trunk-like figure, referencing his part-elephant appearance.
    • On Joy, the bottomless bag becomes a spike.
  • Pete Docter comments that Abstract Thought would be one of the newest constructions in Riley's mind, as in real life it develops around age 10. This could explain why Bing Bong thought it was a safe way and said to have gone through it numerous times already, if it had never entered in activity before.
  • The Abstract Thought symptoms have similarities to "the bends" people get when diving.
  • In the international versions of the film, the scene where Bing Bong points to the letters of the sign was translated; however, aside from translating the sign, animators had to reanimate Bing Bong for certain international releases whether he is pointing to the letters from right to left and left to right depending on the country with the written context.

v - e - d
Films: Inside Out (video/soundtrack) • Riley's First Date?

Video Games: Inside Out: Thought BubblesDisney Infinity: 3.0 EditionDisney Crossy RoadDisney Emoji BlitzLEGO The IncrediblesDisney Heroes: Battle Mode
Books: The Art of Inside OutThe Bing Bong BookMaking MemoriesWelcome to HeadquartersJourney into the MindThe Essential GuideDriven by EmotionsSo Many Feelings: Riley's World Inside and OutInside My Mind: A Book About Me!Joy's JourneyMeet The EmotionsJoy's Greatest Joy/Simply SadnessRainbow of EmotionsThe Emotions' Survival Guide

Disney Parks
Inside Out HeadquartersInside Out Emotional WhirlwindPLAY!Pixar Pal-A-Round

Entertainment: Pixar Playtime Pals
Restaurants: Angry Dogs
Shops: Bing Bong’s Sweet Stuff
Parade: Dreams.... And Shine Brighter!Move It! Shake It! Dance and Play It! Street PartyPixar Play Parade
Firework: ILLUMINATE! A Nighttime CelebrationMomentousTogether Forever: A Pixar Nighttime Spectacular
Spring: Disney Color-Fest: A Street Party!
Summer: Pixar Water Play Street Party!
Christmas: World of Color: Season of Light

JoySadnessAngerDisgustFearThe EmotionsMrs. Andersen's EmotionsMr. Andersen's EmotionsBing BongRainbow UnicornThe ForgettersJangles the ClownRiley AndersenMrs. AndersenMr. AndersenMegFrank and DaveJordanFritz Brazilian Helicopter PilotGloom (deleted)
Emotion HeadquartersLong Term MemoryImagination LandDream ProductionsAbstract ThoughtPersonality IslandsSubconsciousMemory DumpMinnesotaSan FranciscoRiley's House
Memory OrbsCore Memory OrbsTrain of ThoughtDaydreamsBottomless BagRocket WagonPixar BallA113Pizza Planet Truck
Bundle of JoyThe Bing Bong SongTripleDent GumItoshi no RileyBack in BlackTake My Breath Away
See Also
The Science Behind PixarPixar in a Box