How to Observe a person: Things to Look For


chances are you've heard the old saying in some form or another it is a capital

mistake to theorize before one has data inevitably one twists facts to suit

theories rather than theories to suit facts I've

mentioned that quote many times in various videos as a reminder but today

we're going to go more in depth with that concept and how to practically

apply it chances are also pretty good that your

primary use of the skill of deduction is going to be in relation to people it is

the most readily advantageous application and many other applications

of the skill set still involve people in some way or another because much of what

we do as social creatures with an interconnected society involves

interaction with humans in some way shape or form in light of that we're

going to go back to a concept I made a video on quite some time ago a concept

that I've subsequently had some time to polish and that is organizing the way in

which you observe people

in the Arthur Conan Doyle Sherlock Holmes stories Holmes tells Watson that

when observing a person the first thing that he looks for on a woman is the hem

of her sleeve and for a man the knee of his trousers this makes sense in 19th

century London when factory and other manual labor jobs dominated by a male

working force would have had men on their knees quite a lot working with

machinery and women still primarily homemakers as dictated by society would

do more quote unquote delicate work that primarily involved the use of the hands

such as baking sewing ironing etc let it be noted that the great detective was

certainly not trying to step on any toes as we see he has a great deal of respect

for capable woman in his adventures but he saw the world for what it was and

knew the probability dictated certain things based on traditional gender roles

being such a dominant force in society as you can see his system was about

efficiency in the 21st century much has changed in the last century and a half

factory workers have been replaced with automation women have been given the

right to vote and traditional generals for men and women in society have become

less strict today the average day to day activities of men and women have become

more similar even in traditional nuclear families it is typical for both the

mother and the father to be working full time furthermore the middle class has

risen and dangerous factory jobs have been replaced with more skilled labor

and subsequently higher education rates in light of this I propose a different

system than that which Holmes implemented one they can be applied to

both men and women and is geared more towards modern activities before we go

into the system however I want to explain a bit about the relationship

between observation and theorization and why it is important to effectively

manage observations to accurately theorize when observing a person it can

be tempting to observe a few pieces of data and then condense them into a

singular theory and then move on to observing more data and condensing that

new data into a separate theory and so thus say 12 data points can be

condensed into three theories about different aspects of the person which

can then be cross-referenced with one's knowledge base in deductive fashion this

is a tempting shortcut because our conscious mind can't divide its

attention and the short-term memory can only juggle about seven items at a

time thus condensing observations in two sets and quote-unquote working as

you go is an effective way to manage a lot of data in theory this system can

work as long as all the data points in the set are connected to each other and

that there are no connections between data across sets if the former is not

the case then you were adding in irrelevant information to a data set

thus confusing possible theories if the latter is the case then you are not

looking at all the relevant information at once thus missing crucial pieces of

data in your analysis think of it like mixing the pieces of two puzzles with

each other because this system favors speed over accuracy the data

organization is likely going to be governed by intuition and as we have

discussed before intuition can be wrong quite a lot but you might be asking how

can one person be divided into multiple sets of data anyway it isn't all the

data observable on them relevant to that person and you would be correct but to

say that because of this data sets are not at all applicable to people is

essentially adopting a very one-dimensional idea of what a person is

and does while this intuitive system is not one that should be employed

nevertheless data sets are a part to a more complete system take for instance

the example of a man who wakes up and gets ready for work at the same time as

his wife he gives her a hug as they both head out and they drive off to work

separately he arrives at work and gets to selling cars then after work he goes to

a hobby shop and picks up a model car set and goes home to work on it you meet

him in the evening picking up groceries let's say that your friend that you're

with is acquainted with the man and introduces you you shake his hand and

notice that there is dried but not super strong glue on the tips of his fingers

you smell both men's deodorant and a woman's perfume and on his left hand you

observe a wedding ring lastly you notice that he is very adept at conversation

and seems quite charismatic now the question is do all these observations

point to one thing or do each point to a separate thing the smell of a woman's

perfume on a man who is already wearing deodorant suggests that he was in close

quarters with a woman when perfume was applied paired with the wedding ring

suggests that he is married this data set gives a glimpse into his

interpersonal relationships the weak glue on his fingertips suggests

that he was using glue on something small but it was not necessarily to

repair something as he would have used a stronger glue so you make theorize that

he as a hobby for model construction or something similar this dataset gives us

insight into his hobbies and interests and lastly his charisma and adeptness

at social interaction indicates that he might have a job that requires

person-to-person communication but more specifically in convincing someone to do

something by winning them over this final piece of data gives insight into

his potential occupation obviously this is a very simplified example but it

shows that not all data on a person necessarily points to one conclusion

thus there is a need to prioritize and categorize the problem with the

intuitive system is that you only start off with a handful of observations that

at first stick out to you and assume that they are connected and then move on

to another set of observations and assume that they are also connected in

this system you are already painting the way you will view subsequent data once

you have already decided on the first data set this is because of the

confirmation bias in order to properly categorize observable beta into sets

you need to observe all the data first and then decide which ties to which so

what's my solution a simple system that allows you to observe the bulk of

relevant data on a person in a quick and efficient way I break down a person into

sections sections that are already generally separate categories and will

generally have specific data sets relative to themselves however this

system is meant to be in regards to observation not logic so there's still

plenty of room to see if data from one section is relevant to data from another

section which will more than likely happen note that this observation is

exclusively a visual one while it is best used all of your available senses

to observe because we gather most of our data from sight however categorizing

that data is most important to efficiently manage observations begin by

observing the feet out of all the clothing that we wear shoes carry the

most information with them most people aren't concerned with keeping their

shoes excessively clean barring of course shoes meant for formal occasions

shoes as a result carry information relevant to where we have been walking

and where we walk relates heavily to where we spend our time and thus what we

do secondly move your eyes upward but stop

at the knees kneeling on one's knees is not as common as it was in Holmes' day

in the Western world but when it does happen it can leave telling marks from

bits of dry cereal on the knee of a mother with a messy young child to

grease left on the knee of the mechanic next turn your attention to the person's

hands now this is where our sense of touch can play a role through a

handshake but that is a topic for a whole nother video for now just observe

the hands as we do so many things with our hands there's a lot of data

available on them although since we wash them regularly the information available

will be more recent than that left on shoes more long-term data will be left

under the fingernails however and on jewelry while there is much to be

deduced from a person's hand we don't have time to go into that today for now

I recommend a video by my friend over the channel observe the link to which you

can find in the info card at the upper right hand corner of your screen then

move your eyes to the jacket if they have one jackets are not washed as often

as shirts and pants so they will be left with more data begin at the base of the

sleeves for information that has been potentially washed off from the hand and

move your eyes around the jack and looking for something out of place

look now from the shoulders up look at any markings you can observe such as tan

lines on the neck then observe the countenance of their face their

complexion their eye color hair color hair style shaving habits etc lastly

make a final scan of the person observe the style color and wear and tear on

their clothes their height build and posture

once you have observed all this data it is up to you to see how to categorize it

and put it all together but organizing your observations will make this much

easier this system may be clunky at first but with a few weeks of practice

it shouldn't be long before you can quickly scan a person in this fashion so

with that being said thank you all so much for watching more content along

these lines of practical applications of observation and deduction are coming

very soon so rejoice to all you long time viewers and if you're new and you

liked what you saw be sure to subscribe for those if you learned something

helpful here today be sure to give this video a like if you would like to

support the channel you can donate via my patreon and as always all you

aspiring detectives out there arrivederci