People watching

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People at a Dutch train station

People watching or crowd watching is the act of observing people and their interactions, usually without their knowledge. It involves picking up on idiosyncrasies to try to guess at another person's story. This includes speech in action, relationship interactions, body language, expressions, clothing and activities. Eavesdropping may accompany the activity,[1] though is not required.[2] For some people it is considered a hobby, but for many others it is a subconscious activity they partake in everyday without even realizing. People watching is not to be confused with naturalistic observation. Naturalistic observation is used for scientific purposes, whereas people watching is a casual activity, used for relaxation or inspiration for characters or characters' mannerisms in their own creative works. [3]


  1. ^ Overheard in New York
  2. ^ "People-Watching: Here’s Looking at You" New York Times 15 October 2006
  3. ^ ""How to Begin People Watching"". eHow. Retrieved 3 November 2015.