I'm coming out from the word absent-mindedness:
Absent-mindedness is where a person shows inattentive or forgetful behaviour. It can have three different causes:
- a low level of attention ("blanking" or "zoning out")
- intense attention to a single object of focus (hyperfocus) that makes a person oblivious to events around him or her;
I'm wondering whether there is a word for a person who only looks to behave like this, but in fact listens to everything around them.
I do this a lot. Whenever I'm in a group of people, I either look like I'm zoned-out thinking about my work stuff, or listening to only one person, but in fact I'm carefully taking in everything other people are speaking.
Another good example would be the character Columbo from the show of the same name. He always looked like he was ignoring everyone, totally absent-minded, while in fact he was doing this on purpose to keep his suspects from being too careful around him.
What is the word for such a person?