How to call such a cognitive process of a person, who often keeps monitoring his or her behaviour by asking oneself questions like "why you are doing it" or "what do you really want to attain", someone who investigates the real causes of his/her behaviour, even if it's painful and requires to face defence mechanisms? I thought it was a ''self-reflection'' or a ''mindfulness''... but I'm not sure [Please don't give me a link to wikipedia, 'cause this article is not finished]. Thank you in advance :)

I ask this question in the context of doing some research or writing some popular science article or reviewing some science literature about it. It's easier to dig in Ebsco bases knowing which term is proper. I just don't want to end up confusing terms, like many laypeople do with "fear" and "neuroticism".

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    $\begingroup$ I don't see a problem with either of your proposed terms. Does anything in particular on Wikipedia make you second-guess them? $\endgroup$ – Nick Stauner Apr 23 '14 at 0:23
  • $\begingroup$ It's probably worth distinguishing between the cognitive process and the trait possessed by people who tend to engage in the cognitive process more than others (e.g., introspection (process) versus introspective (trait)) $\endgroup$ – Jeromy Anglim Apr 23 '14 at 7:24
  • $\begingroup$ Asking a vocabulary question on this site doesn't always work out as the asker wants. However you can make a "reference request" question, if you give us the topic of your research and what you've tried so far. This might give you a better quality answer. $\endgroup$ – Seanny123 Apr 24 '14 at 11:17
  • $\begingroup$ "Mindfulness" doesn't necessarily include a critical view of yourself, just a non-average awareness of everything (including your surroundings, so it is not limited to the self either). "Self-reflection" seems to better suit your intended meaning, though of course you can coin new terms like "self-criticism" that might make your meaning even more clear. Both don't imply taking action, which "self-improvement" would. $\endgroup$ – user3116 Apr 25 '14 at 8:52

Self aware or introspection would probably be the a good way to describe it.

Here is a non wikipedia link which gives a detailed explanation of interospection

You could also say self conscious but that is sometimes associated with a negative emotion.

  • $\begingroup$ I agree there is sometimes such a connotation, but I don't think it's very strong unless the context makes that clear. There are certainly stronger words for self-doubt and social anxiety, for instance. $\endgroup$ – Nick Stauner Apr 23 '14 at 0:28
  • $\begingroup$ I changed it to say 'is sometimes' because your point is valid. $\endgroup$ – Cynapse Apr 23 '14 at 0:30
  • $\begingroup$ "Self-conscious" does not mean that you observe and reflect on your self, but that you feel observed and judged by others and this may inhibit you and cause social anxiety. $\endgroup$ – user3116 Apr 25 '14 at 8:56
  • $\begingroup$ en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-consciousness $\endgroup$ – Cynapse Apr 27 '14 at 15:33

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