How to improve observation?


I am curious since the BBC’s series Sherlock how to train my observation. Sherlock’s observation skills are fascinating and it caught my interest.

Do you know how to improve observation skills to reach that level of Sherlock’s or to become more observant in daily life at least?

I appreciate your answers!

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The key is recognition. You just need to know what to look for. This can be trained.

Even sherlock has a hard time solving a problem that he knows barely anything off. In one episode he had to solve a problem involving a painting of the night sky but because he barely knew anything about space and stars, he almost didn’t solve it on time. I think it was Sherlock himself or someone else who said that if he knew more about space that he would’ve solved the problem sooner.


Recognition is indeed extremely helpful. My first car was an old Mercedes A-160. Since then I notice every A-160 in traffic.

Another good way is to verbally describe what you perceive. Many fiction authors take notes on their observations in daily life which is said to improve their overall observation skill.


Thank you for your answer!

You are right, that was funny that he didn’t know about space.

In short, I should select what I want to look for like details of clothes, right/left-handed, etc.

John Watson said that Sherlock could solve the problem earlier if he knew about space and stars, as I recall.

Thank you!

This information helps me a lot.
I will definitely integrate it in my daily life.

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I’ve been using that method to try and remember some of the nuggets that I pick up in Irish pubs. It works great - as long as I can remember which pub I was in.


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If you open a drawer or box of collected assorted objects, have you ever noticed that if you focus on removing every green object, that you almost don’t see anything other than the green objects? It’s one way of observing your mind’s focus; and if someone then asks what red objects were in your collection, you would also observe your lack of attention to detail.


Eye witnesses are notoriously poor.

It would be interesting to know how intelligence, detectives, etc are trained to observe a scene.


There must be some books on that topic.

Edit: I found some articles:

Here are some related threads on observation: