Merriam-Webster defines introspection as the following:

a reflective looking inward : an examination of one's own thoughts and feelings

It is hard to find an antonym for looking inside oneself, because you can't really look inside others. I need a word, though, to describe exactly that: the act of examining who other people are. There is the word extrospection, which means this:

examination or observation of what is outside oneself

However, this is a little-used form, and I have two qualms concerning my usage of it:

  1. Some people may not understand what the word means
  2. It would not exactly be describing what I want, because this means looking outside oneself in general, and I want to look inside others (to the best of one's ability, of course it would be impossible to fully look inside another person)

This PowerThesaurus link offered no helpful advice on the matter, and This answers.com link was even less beneficial.

Any help?

closed as off-topic by Gary, Nigel J, NVZ, jimm101, RaceYouAnytime Nov 27 '17 at 16:21

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  • "image conscious" would be understood as someone aware of how their actions and appearance appear externally, however, it does carry some baggage of a couple sorts with it. ( are they insecure? are they manipulative for career or status purposes?) – Tom22 May 1 '17 at 1:10
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    The antonym here would be a word to describe looking out of yourself, extrospection as you have quoted, looking inside others is something different. Could you provide an example sentence, it'll help us understand intended usage. – Gary May 1 '17 at 1:29

There may be no direct antonym to introspection, but there's the word perceptive and all its synonyms. See perceptive, including:

sharp, perspicacious, sensitive, discerning, keen, reasonable, astute, wise, acute, aware, alert, observant, etc.

There's of course a huge literature in psychology on extroversion versus introversion; this literature usually considers other traits as well as these two in attempting to define personality types.

It is therefore interesting to inquire why there is no seeming direct antonym to "introspection". Perhaps this is because the antonym would really mean not examining the outside world, but failing to be perceptive about one's self, i.e., non-introspective.

Whether this literature presents the view that extroverts are especially (or more) perceptive about other people than introverts, I don't know.

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