The Cocktail Party Effect

The COCKTAIL PARTY EFFECT is the phenomenon of being able to focus one’s auditory attention on a particular stimulus while filtering out other simultaneous stimuli. Due to this effect an individual can concentrate on a single source of auditory stimuli among the multiple sources of noise. The cocktail party effect was defined by Colin Cherry, a British scientist, in 1953. This effect enables people to converse in noisy settings such as in a cocktail party or a musical concert.

The phenomenon is related to our perception, attention, and consciousness and it indicates that there can be different levels of consciousness which makes it possible for an individual to be more or less aware of sensory inputs even when he/she is not paying attention to them.

This is due to cocktail party effect that when someone hears a word or phrase important to him/her, such as one’s name, it immediately catches his/her attention and shifts the focus even when he or she has not been paying attention to that auditory stimuli.