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I can tell you the license plate numbers of all six cars in the parking lot. I can tell you that our waitress is left-handed and the guy sitting up at the counter weighs two hundred fifteen pounds and knows how to handle himself. I know the best place to look for a gun is the cab of the gray pickup truck outside, and at this altitude, I can run flat out for a half mile before my hands start shaking.

Jason Bourne, The Bourne Identity

No detail escapes the notice of our character. With only a brief Sherlock Scan, he can deduce intimate and accurate information about an individual. With Hyper Awareness, they will sit down and know how many people are in the area, what they are doing, which ones are important to the plot and what would be the best exit without attracting attention.

For example: During a stroll through a crowded casino while having an important conversation, he can notice that the woman at the outermost Baccarat table is wearing knock-off Dior, yet playing $10,000 gold plaques with abandon, left-handed, and she has a "tell" that is a slight shaking of her left foot.

Sometimes Hyper Awareness is an element of a character's personality that has been well set up. Especially in detective / crime shows it may be the entire point of the story.

At other times, it is a new attribute that only serves the plot. It may never come up again.

Can overlap with the Scarily Competent Tracker, Living Lie Detector and Photographic Memory. Compare Super Senses when it is literally that their sense of hearing, sight, smell and touch are hyperactive. May be visualized with things like Fluorescent Footprints or a stylized Bullet Time Stat-O-Vision like readout of what they see. Contrast Failed a Spot Check.

Examples of Hyper Awareness include:

Anime and Manga

  • Golgo 13. It's practically impossible for him to miss out any details that would jeopardize his assignment.
  • Mai in Futari wa Pretty Cure Splash Star remembers positions softball players enter for a split second (for instance, Saki in mid-pitch) accurately enough that she can draw their poses, compare the drawings, and demonstrate how the players are moving differently than usual. She can also remember the faces, well enough to recognize them as classmates, of people she saw flying through the night sky at a great distance. The former looked like horrible writing at the time, but after the latter, seems more like a clumsy attempt at Chekhov's Skill.
  • Shikamaru, the lazy genius, from the anime Naruto has shown this at times, as has Shino.
    • In the Konoha 11 filler arc, Ino can tell someone's profession by the condition of their hands, and concludes that the corpse that is supposedly that of the trap ninja they're dealing with is fake because it doesn't have any.
  • In Rurouni Kenshin, Sagara Sanosuke has a minor level of hyper awareness earned from a life in a gang, allowing him to detect many traps before they go off. This allows him to conveniently play Mr. Exposition for some of Kenshin's fights. It was also used to identify Saito before he could do his big reveal. All this doesn't help him overcome his lack of direction sense.
  • In addition to the Sherlock Scan, Shinichi Kudo (and hence, Conan) from Detective Conan has this gift. At one case, Shinichi sees a girl reaching for her murdered boyfriend's bag on a cabin overhead luggage compartment, remembers something, tells her story and then pulls the bag off the compartment. What we notice is the story she told us, what Shinichi notices is that she used her right hand before she told her story, and then she switched to her left hand afterwards. It was important because the murder weapon is a sharp object; the bra worn by the girl has a detachable metallic strap which she sharpened one of them. She wears the bra during the scene (since she can't throw it away) and sharp edge grazed her skin when she raised her hand and hence, she switched to her left hand.
    • Don't forget Hattori Heiji. Back when they were in Middle School both Shinichi and Heiji solved a case at the exact same pace of deduction, so he must have the same hyperawareness as Shinichi. I know there are some examples but I can't remember them right now...
  • Caerula Sanguis from Battle Angel Alita: Last Order, being a fighter of no mean skill, lives mainly off of this trope, which she partly attained through lots and lots of combat experience. Even before picking up her special ability to read neural impulses, she had long set a rule for fighting with a sword against guns, carefully watching the gunner for his or her tell before each shot, and counterattacking when within a certain number of steps depending on the kind of gun. After she gains her special ability, however, all bets are off. Coupled with her ability to quickly gauge terrain and her drilled-in experience with and against several kinds of weapons, this allows her to take enemy capabilities and personalities - even subconscious reflexes - into account and completely take control of any fight.
  • Ryuuguu Rena of Higurashi no Naku Koro ni. Dangerous when she's infected with the Hate Plague, very useful when she's helping to investigate someone else who is (except that one time when it got her killed, her comments about strange details that the infected party was hiding convincing him that she was the murderous one).
  • Nami from the Full Metal Panic!! novels claims that she was able to tell that Sousuke was trained as an AS pilot due to callouses on his wrists and elbows that she briefly noticed while he was changing. Lemon, on the other hand, is convinced she was just checking him out.
    • Sousuke himself has developed a preternatural sense of danger - in The Second Raid anime, Wraith mentions how he flips out whenever she points a sniper rifle at him for fun.
  • Several characters in Hunter X Hunter do this, including the main character, Gon. It's often taken to Charles Atlas Superpower levels (though perhaps justified by the setting's Ki Attacks), especially with Senritsu, who has a truly insane sense of hearing.
  • In Katekyo Hitman Reborn hyper awareness is one of the things that links Tsuna to the first head of the Vongola family.
    • It's actually in his blood though it's unknown if other Vongola boss possess the same traits. In anime, the test of intituation is the one Tsuna could pass with closed eyes if he wanted to AND if Verde wasn't trying to experimenting on them.
  • In Mahou Sensei Negima, several of the girls in Negi's class qualify for this, but Yue in particular is very very good at noticing minute details.
  • Black from Pokémon Special, but only when he's using his Munna's abilities to cancel out his Super OCD.

Comic Books

  • Batman has this sometimes, in addition to being Crazy Prepared.
  • Amadeus Cho, of The Incredible Hercules, has a similar ability with similar floating purple equations as part of his super-intelligence.
  • From Gotham Central, we have Josie Mac. She has the psychic ability to walk into a room and tell if anything is out of place and where it actually belongs. Frustrates her co-workers to no end when they keep hiding her coffee mug and she finds it with no problem every time.
  • Superman post Infinite Crisis. In addition to having Super Senses, his memory and super fast thought processes have allowed him to make such observations as noting changes in the average heart rate of the average Metropolis citizen, stated numerically (indicating an overall increase in anxiety after an attack on the city.)
  • G.I. Joe's Native American tracker Spirit got retconned as having this ability in the new IDW continuity, to do away with the "Native American Tracking Master" stereotype. He's still Native American, but descended from the Pueblo tribes (city dwellers) and was raised in the suburbs. He was diagnosed with hyper-awareness as a child, and started living in the wilderness to avoid overstimulation, while learning to focus his ability.
  • Marvel's first Captain Marvel (not to be confused with the original Captain Marvel) was gifted with Cosmic Awareness, that let him perceive everything around him. The limits of this ability weren't clear, but when he got it, he sensed without any mirror that his hair had turned from white to blond. He also could find the best timing to avoid a hit or to attack himself, and was also a plot point when Thanos became the entire universe thanks to the Cosmic Cube.
  • Top Ten has Synaesthesia Jackson, who has this with a twist - while she's quick to pick up on subtle details, she also has, well, synaesthesia, which means they're processed through different visual feeds. For instance, in one early issue, she starts picking up notes from "Ode to Joy" at a crime scene... only to realize several issues later that it was from the "Joy" perfume the killer was wearing.

Fan Works


  • In the first movie remake of Mission: Impossible, Tom Cruise's character meets his IMF superior for a debriefing after a botched Impossible Mission. He looks around the cafe and, despite Latex Perfection, recognizes around him another IMF team that had also been present at the botch.
  • Jason Bourne of the Bourne Identity series has this because of his Treadstone training.
    • In the third movie this was cranked to insane levels. He was able to direct a journalist through a train station with instructions from a cell phone, all the while avoiding the cameras himself and identifying and disabling The Men in Black agents who are trying to track the journalist down.
  • In the Hitman movie, Agent 47 is shown to have this ability. He's also Crazy Prepared, and The Chessmaster to boot.
  • The T-850 Terminator in Terminator 3 revealed that he had basic knowledge of human physiology and was able to deduce whether or not a human was lying or otherwise being deceitful.
  • Mel Gibson's character in We Were Soldiers seemed to have a situational awareness that seriously bordered on pre-cognition with him being able to read the tide of battle a little too well.
  • The Robert Downey, Jr. Sherlock Holmes film shows the downside of this: it never turns off and he's almost constantly being overloaded.
    • In the sequel, the gypsy queen asks, "What do you see?" Holmes replies, "Everything. That is my curse."
  • In Raising Arizona, Bounty Hunter Leonard Smalls tracks his prey to a trailer home. Upon seeing the chaos inside (two men had just had a destructive fight there), he immediately picks up the one clue he needs, a scrap of paper.
  • Used by Kato in the Green Hornet remake. It's used to explain how he can fight so efficiently. It is also parodied and then used straight by Brit when he spends several minutes staring into space while working out the plot twist and then to save Kato, respectively.
  • In Casino Royale, Bond and Vesper trade instant analyses of one another on the train.
  • Limitless is built on this trope. One dose of the drug and sherlock scanning becomes a natural reflex.


  • Anafiel Delaunay in Kushiel's Legacy teaches both Phedre and Alcuin how to do this.
  • Sherlock Holmes is probably the most famous example, being the Trope Namer for Sherlock Scan.
  • Luna Lovegood of Harry Potter fame is shockingly perceptive, except when it comes to her own Cloudcuckoolander beliefs. When Harry is transformed via Polyjuice Potion, Luna has absolutely no forewarning that he'll be in disguise, but she instantly recognizes him by the expression on his face. It does not, however, occur to her that walking up and greeting him by name might be a bad idea.
  • In the Discworld, Klatchian Coffee takes you from drunk to sober and all the way out the other side, so you're knurd (anti-drunk). At this point, the rose-colored glasses are stripped away from you, and you see reality for how it really is. ("This involves a lot of screaming.") Then you drink lots of and lots of orakh (a Klatchian Gargle Blaster) and swear you'll never get knurd again. It is joked that Sam Vimes of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch was born two drinks on the knurd side of sober, so he needs a drink or two to just be normal. This both makes him intensely cynical and gives him a tendency towards alcoholism.
    • It also effectively makes him the straight man for an entire world of absurdity.
      • Well, except possibly for Lord Vetinari, who is so clinically aware that he makes Vimes look normal - despite Vimes being described as 'the most cynical bastard that ever walked under the sun' in Guards Guards he is shocked and transfixed by the sheer depth of Vetinari's cynicism.

Vimes: You really believe that? ...And you still get up in the morning?

    • Carrot also appears to be pretty sane, not because he can see the way reality works, but because reality seems to bend itself so as not to upset his beliefs. He can come upon two opposing armies and jolly them into a cheery football game.
    • He also (not alone, Nobby and Colon seem to share it - Vimes says that new coppers glance once at a street and miss all the important things, like people hiding in the shadows and trying to kill you; experienced coppers like Angua will look carefully to make sure they get everything, and really experienced ones like Colon and Nobby will take one look, because that's all they need) has another type of hyper-awareness in that most of the time he can glance down a darkened street and see everyone there, including those trying to hide in the shadows. One of the few people who can hide from him is, predictably, Vetinari (who notably failed all his stealth examinations at the Assassins' Guild because he was marked absent. Think about it.)
    • Brutha from Small Gods, in addition to a perfectly Photographic Memory, is also hyper-aware, as he can recite a complete description of a room, down to the most minute detail, after only a few seconds of looking at it. And can also repeat anything spoken to him, word for word.
    • Tiffany Aching has First Sight (seeing what's really there, not what you expect to see) in Wee Free Men and it plays a reasonably large part in Hat Full of Sky. Most witches have this (except possibly Magrat), and in Mort we're told it's the first thing wizards learn at UU as well. (Okay, the first thing they learn is where the privies are and so on, but after all that it's the first thing.)
    • Susan Sto Helit is also revealed to have this in Thief of Time, as part of her heritage from her grandfather the Grim Reaper.
  • The Bene Gesserit of Dune use their hyper awareness as a tool for manipulation. Descriptions of Bene Gesserit thought processes in the novels are often comparable to chess masters watching the world around them like one big chessboard, and calmly noting their accruing advantage. At one point a Bene Gesserit correctly deduces that there is a hidden room on the other side of a large banquet room by noting the subtle geometry of the walls of the room and the objects in it as being specifically designed to produce a slight echo where those in the hidden room can listen in.
    • Even with mental processing as incredible as that, the Bene Gesserit still only learn those abilities as a supplementary skill for their main areas of expertise. The mentats, however, specialize specifically in Hyper Awareness and so are infinitely more adept then even the best Bene Gesserit. This is because Mentats are, literally, human computers, as the inhabitants learned all too well what happens when they make a machine in the likeness of a human mind...
  • Marlene Fisher from the Isaac Asimov novel Nemesis has this for body language, although she either can't or doesn't use it for things other than reading people like the proverbial book. It's treated like a superpower.
  • One Hardy Boys: Casefiles book had Frank Hardy realize that a series of small noises on a car radio was a signal being transmitted. For what was probably a bomb attached to their car. He is, of course, right. This is also used to subvert the usual Magic Countdown: when the noises stop, they know they only have a few seconds.
  • Allison Parmeter from Paul Cornell's novel British Summertime has this ability, which she refers to as "chipshopness" or the ability to "read the world." She can see patterns and meaning in anything, from facial expressions to sports statistics to the arrangement of buildings on a street. This lets her detect lies, predict the results of upcoming sports matches as part of her job in a betting shop, and determine the most likely location of specific types of establishments in cities she's never been in before, such as the closest fish and chip shop when she gets lost on her first trip to Edinburgh. She views this as a curse, since she is forced to face up to things she'd rather not know about, like people's real feelings towards her and the upcoming End Of The World.
  • Taking the "Soy Sauce" in John Dies at the End can temporarily grant someone Hyper Awareness, in addition to the permanent ability to see supernatural things and simultaneously exist in multiple dimensions. However, most people who take the stuff end up dead or inhuman.
  • In the Star Wars Expanded Universe Luke Skywalker and Mara Jade displayed a variant of this, along with a short-term sort of Photographic Memory, in Survivors Quest. Being well-trained Jedi written by an author who eschews extravagant powers in favor of subtler ones, he has them walk through an area, stop, and sort of rewind their short-term memories. They're still only looking directly at the original things, but this way they can scrutinize whatever else was happening in their field of view, and pay more attention to background noise. They can't go too far back with this.
  • This is apparently an ability that John Coffey has in The Green Mile, from what Paul Edgecomb remembers when he is healed by him. Later, he gets another dose, and realizes that this, along with the fact that he probably would live a long, long life if he wasn't executed, contributes to Coffey's not being bothered by being executed even if he is Wrongly Accused.
  • Deconstructed in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time—the autistic protagonist "sees everything," and at one point he tries to explain this to the reader. He talks about a particular moment of his life, looking at a field of cows, and he remembers the slope of the field and the patterns on the cows and the position of the sun in the sky and one detail after another after another and all of this goes through his conscious mind at once . . . he can barely handle being in a room he's never been in before, because of all the information crowding in on him at once. Only familiarity makes things better, and he won't even move the furniture in his house to a different configuration for fear of the effect on his mind. (He doesn't quite consider this Blessed with Suck, since he's a Sherlock Holmes fanboy and likes being able to use the Sherlock Scan, but it definitely impairs his ability to live a normal life.)
    • However, his being autistic (and thus having trouble understanding people,) means that, even though he notices all the details a Sherlock Scan requires, he has trouble analysing what those details mean in context and putting together the sort of deduction that Sherlock might.
  • Enhanced senses is just one of the many benefits of sinanju in The Destroyer. Remo can fight in the dark using his hearing, detect snipers over distance by the feel of the wind on his arms, determine the number of people in a room from its ambient temperature, and figure out a door code from the residual heat in the buttons the last person touched some hours ago. (Later he simply opens an electronic lock through the sinanju art of manipulating electric signals. Yes, really.) And people think the fighting skills go into the superhuman...
  • Gunslingers were trained in this art in Stephen King's The Dark Tower series.
  • A few of the main characters in The Pale King. Chris Fogle has an absurdly good memory and attention to detail, David Cusk can keep track of room temperatures and lighting angles, and Toni Ware can read people exceptionally well.
  • Minor effect of a potion that Harry puts together in Fool Moon. It's a "pick-me-up" or a "super-coffee", and before it wears off, he has shades of this. And composes a symphony. And blows all the tires of a truck on the highway. It was a sharing kind of mood.
    • He also has shades of this when Thomas asks him to size up all the people in the park at the end of Turn Coat. This one is much more mundane - throughout the series he's mentioned things he's noticed as an investigator. Sure, most of them were features of women, but his skill as an investigator is renown, and its a very practicable skill as an investigator.
    • Earlier in the same book, Harry got access to a kind of localized omniscience called "Intellectus". He realizes, while in its throes, that because he's unfamiliar with it, he's visibly reacting to it (knowing there's someone there, he's trying to look for them) and therefore must look crazy. More than usual, anyway. It makes his trying to convince two hostile parties to work together that much harder.
  • In Shannon Hale's River Secrets, Razo apparently has this ability but never noticed it. His commanding officer asks him a series of questions about small details he's observed (such as "Who do you know who has ink stains on their hands?"), which Razo answers easily, and seems surprised when he's told that most people wouldn't have noticed.
  • Drake and Stirling's The General shows a computer-assisted version. Through Raj Whitehall's mental link with the supercomputer Center, Center is able to use all of Raj's senses as input to be analyzed and feed back the results, including information Raj wasn't paying attention to at the time or couldn't interpret himself.
  • In one of E.C. Tubb's Dumarest of Terra books, Dumarest joined forces with a character who could read body language so thoroughly that it literally seemed as if he were reading people's thoughts. Unfortunately for him, he wasn't so good at how to respond to what he read, and died when he didn't take action in time against a psychotic killer.

Live Action TV

  • Dr. Gregory House. At one point he walked down a line of patients waiting at the (much hated) clinic and diagnosed entirely on their physical appearance and general behavior. More then a few episodes are dedicated to showing how he is certain that there was some little thing that he might have missed that is key to the problem of the week.
    • In one episode, he managed to deduce he was in a coma-induced hallucination by a combination of in-universe fourth wall awareness and that everything was running too smoothly. Yes, House's Hyper Awareness is sufficient to allow him to break free of a hallucination made by his own mind.
  • Lieutenant Columbo
  • Adrian Monk
    • In one episode, a rock is thrown through his psychiatrist's window. He recognizes the rock. You really can't get much more hyper aware than that.
  • Shawn Spencer from Psych was trained by his police father to pick up on small and unimportant details. He even has special effects showing the audience how he notices things.
    • And turns his head sideways and left with a silly expression that Gus now mocks. Even people who've only just met him figure out when he gets a clue.
  • Doctor William Zimmerman of Sanctuary can join these ranks.
    • Also from Sanctuary James Watson has all the analytical abilities that Zimmerman has but turned up to eleven... or would that be twelve?
  • Jim Ellison in The Sentinel had this as his super-power.
  • Just about everyone on CSI, most especially Gil Grissom. His flashback in the episode "Rashomama" is a good demonstration.
  • In the Angel episode "Supersymmetry", Angel was able to use his Photographic Memory to exactly reconstruct a crime scene and identify a suspect. While in earlier episodes he had demonstrated an impressive memory and other exceptional mental talents (he speaks several languages and can recreate faces almost perfectly), that particular ability had not been shown before.
  • Stargate SG-1: When Jonas Quinn (see above) was placed on the SG-1 team he was shown to have skills at recall and noticing tiny details that other characters found spooky. Though it served the story for him to quickly be able to replace Daniel Jackson on SG-1, it was indicated to be because he (or possibly his species)was slightly more evolved than Earth-based humans in one episode of the series.
  • Supernatural: Do you think you would be able to notice a single fingernail embedded in a chalklike wall in a dimly-lit cellar? Or a small symbol carved on the inside of a vase you happen to be walking past? Sam Winchester can.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation's Data, being an android with perfect recall, had this and exasperating his crew mates by picking up on tiny details that were not at all relevant.
  • In Buffy the Vampire Slayer Giles tried to teach Buffy that the Slayer should have a sixth sense about vampires and be capable of identifying one without seeing fangs. Buffy deduced one individual being a vampire because their fashion choice was "20 years out of date."
    • The original movie said that the Slayer actually had a built in vampire detector because they will feel muscle cramps when one is nearby. As Buffy said, "Great...PMS is my secret weapon."
  • Used and subverted in Burn Notice. Michael explained that especially when your adrenaline is high and with the training a spy would have, your mind can play tricks on you and you start seeing things that really aren't there. But there are multiple times in the series where Michael does demonstrate a keen sense of observation, considering he is a former spy.
  • In Lie to Me, the leads have this. However, this can also engender Hyper Awareness in the viewer, as you try to catch the little tics the characters notice before they're pointed out.
  • The Mentalist.
  • River in Firefly fits this well, though perhaps more in Serenity.
    • Taking one quick look at three gunmen behind cover, then ducking back and shooting them all dead without aiming, was for example rather impressive.
    • However, it's difficult to tell when she's using Hyper Awareness and when it's her Psychic Powers coming into play.
  • Father Jack from Father Ted fits this trope when it comes to alcohol, he can not only tell that a bottle contains alcohol but the actual vintage of the wine just from the clinking sound. He is considerably less aware when, for example, being asked if someone should stop pouring him alcohol.
  • Pretty much how crimes are solved in the Japanese drama Kimi Hannin Janai Yo Ne?, combined with extraordinary amounts of deductive reasoning and the main character's powerful Photographic Memory. Sakura can deduce actions and entire methods of murder just by piecing together scraps of evidence.
  • The Doctor from Doctor Who. Most notably in the episode "The Eleventh Hour", where he is able to analyze every detail of an area he glanced at while passing.
  • Played for laughs in the Frasier episode "Ham Radio." Apparently, Frasier can tell a person's religion by their voice.
  • Michael Scofield from the TV series Prison Break. It is established that he has low latent inhibition combined with high intelligence, which gives him Hyper Awareness. See Real Life, below.
  • Tywin Lannister in Game of Thrones. When he notices Arya, who has been disguised as a boy for weeks and whose disguise no one else has been able to see through, he doesn't even need to hear her speak to see through the deception at first glance.

Newspaper Comics

Tabletop Games

  • In Warhammer 40,000, followers of the eldritch god Slaanesh have honed their senses to an incredible degree, able to distinguish between the subtlest differences in any of their myriad senses. Why? To enjoy their senses more, of course! This has the unfortunate side-effect of eventually requiring more and more stimulation to reach the same high. Eventually, the worshiper is rendered unable to be roused by anything except the most audacious, perverse, and extreme stimulus.
  • The Dungeons & Dragons psionic power Hypercognition does exactly this.
    • Indeed, any character with a high Wisdom score and a good modifier for the sensory skills can end up in this trope, in any D20 system game.
  • In New World of Darkness game Changeling: The Lost, changelings with high Clarity gain a bonus to their senses.
  • Possible with the Super-Senses power in Mutants and Masterminds. In this version, it is actually possible to have Hyper Awareness with sonar as though you're a mixture of Daredevil and Sherlock Holmes.
  • Similarly, the Hypersenses mutation in Paranoia. Great for gathering information on your (many) enemies, but (this being Paranoia) with a measure of Blessed with Suck (sensory overload, hallucinations, what have you).
  • In Exalted, characters with Perception, Awareness and/or Investigation scores of 3 or above (to say nothing of the corresponding Charms) will very likely be doing this regularly.
  • Spirit of the Century has stunts that can make a character Hyper Aware. In particular there are the Focused Sense and Impossible Detail stunts. The former allows the character to have a single hyper-developed sense (and can be taken multiple times to apply to multiple senses), while the latter removes any penalty to notice a detail because it's too small or subtle.
  • In Aberrant, characters can take points in Mega-Perception. With Mega-Perception, noting and remembering all the license plate numbers in the parking lot, Bourne-style, is level one on a five-level scale.


Video Games

  • Fallout has the perks Awareness and Friend or Foe. With Awareness you are able to see how many Hit Points the target has and which weapon he's wielding, with Friend or Foe you can instantly distinguish between friendly and enemy NPCs. Black Isle apparently decided the latter was a dick move and just allowed any and all PCs to discern this from the start. There's also the Empathy perk, which effectively tells you which conversational options will make a person happy or sad without having to resort to Save Scumming.
  • This could be called Ace Attorney's Apollo Justice's and Trucy Wright's "superpower" and is mainly used to call out Character Tics. Oh, and by the way, it's In the Blood.
  • It's subtle, but events early on in Fate/stay night show that Shirou has extraordinarily good eyesight; he's able to pick out a single person standing on top of a skyscraper while being on the ground himself. He also has a form of super sense through his magecraft that instinctively lets him know how something is broken, where it is broken and how to fix it just by touch. He pales compared to the supernatural servants, however: Servant Archer can pick out single people in perfect detail from kilometres away, and can instantly identify and discern all details of crafted objects through a cursory glance. Shirou ends up siphoning this ability from him due to the time paradox.


  • In Girl Genius, Agatha Heterodyne builds the ultimate coffee maker which brews coffee so perfect it induces this state in those who drink it, very similar to the knurd state of Klatchian Coffee in Discworld.
  • Ravenwing teaches this to the scouts of the Clan of the Hawk in The Wandering Ones. At the same time, others in the clan are taking the awareness to a metaphysical level.
  • Quantum Cop from Casey and Andy is so aware he has to wear sunglasses all the time in order not to go mad.
  • In El Goonish Shive, Hedge has been shown to be adept at information gathering. Maybe he's no Sherlock Holmes, but he grasps any clue present, like occasional slips of Elliot knowing Grace or Grace being in a relationship.
    • Diane also displayed this ability when determining that Ellen and Grace were new to Moperville South. She was even wearing a Sherlock Holmes outfit for one panel.

Web Original

Western Animation

  • Alex Mann from Action Man had an ability called "The AMP Factor" that allowed him to be aware of everything in a given situation, the physics of things moving, likely results of actions, etc. Expressed visually by everything turning blue and numbers floating around.

Real Life

  • There is a real-life physiological condition called low latent inhibition which, coupled with a high intelligence, can produce real-life "sherlockholmesian" Hyper Awareness.
    • People with ADHD are often more sensitive to changes in their environment, but it usually doesn't have the same effect as Hyper Awareness. Some notice every little detail around them, which just means they can't focus on any one thing.
      • Low-level ADD also can manifest as this, so that people who can otherwise control a tendency towards distraction may seem to be doing the Sherlock Holmes routine.
      • Same goes for many people with autism.
      • Around 15% to 20% supposedly have high sensitivity, which can be mistaken for autism or ADHD.
  • Psychologists working with police deal with this condition. Unfortunately, it's much less a condition that grants Sherlock Holmes superpowers than something that makes it difficult to distinguish between real and imagined threats, often causing considerable harm to the the officer's social life.
    • Indeed. The technical term is "hypervigilance" and is one of the component symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
  • It is well known that Conan Doyle based Holmes' perceptive and deductive abilities on medical school professor Joseph Bell, the father of Forensic medicine. According to his wife Doyle was no slouch at it himself.
  • On the flip side, as some of the above examples imply, hyperawareness can be a bad thing at times due to false positives.
    • Hyperawareness is a bad thing, because you simply don't have enough brainpower to process every last detail of your environment in depth. That's the very reason they are usually filtered before being passed to consciousness. You are basically experiencing a constant sensory overload.
      • Sensory Processing Disorder, a condition currently trying to gather enough evidence to be included in the DSM-5, is basically those negative aspects in a nutshell. People with the condition are so sensitive to stimulation, that they can have emotional breakdowns when it gets too much, often to the complete bafflement of everyone around them.
  • Comedian Adam Carolla claimed to suffer from hyperawareness during his radio show. His actual complaint was more along the lines of not being able to ignore the little things wrong in a situation the way most people can. (Notable example: on multiple occasions, a caller would phone in and their smoke detector's "low battery" chirp would be overheard on the call. It would drive him nuts that they didn't replace the battery the instant they first heard the chirp.)
  • One British ASW captain made a habit of taking earphones connected to his ship's sonar when going on maneuvers. One time, he woke up and said "that's a submarine".
    • It should be noted that originally sonar did require a living person to analyse the echoes they were hearing, so a trained operator would need to be able to recognise things like that in order to do their job. Identifying it in your sleep is another matter, however.