The Cocktail Party Effect


The term cocktail party effect was coined by a British Cognitive scientist Colin Cherry, in the 1950s. He was interested in understanding how people listened, by conducting a few experiments. In his first experiment, he played two different overlapped messages recorded in the voice of the same person, through headphones. The participants were asked to listen carefully and try to write one of the messages on paper. If they put in enough concentration, the participants usually succeeded.

Now, if someone asks you to describe the cocktail party effect. The formal Cocktail Party effect definition is as follows:

Cocktail Party Effect Definition:

The cocktail party effect is the phenomenon of being able to focus one’s auditory attention on a particular stimulus while filtering out a range of other stimuli, much the same way that a partygoer can focus on a single conversation in a noisy room. Continue reading The Cocktail Party Effect

The Illusion of Transparency

By Anupum Pant

Imagine learning something whilst a very experienced person speaks about a subject that he’s been working on for 35 years. Let’s say, we’re talking about a professor here. It’s pretty annoying to listen to them using mysterious abbreviations, jargon and what not. This is a very normal thing for humans to do. Because we are basically not smart. Our brains have their own ways to fail us.

I’m doing my graduate studies and it’s not very rare that I come across very learned professors who aren’t very good teachers. Being a good teacher, speaker or a textbook author isn’t the same as knowing stuff, and is possible to be one when you know one thing, and just one thing.

Continue reading The Illusion of Transparency

Curiosity Kills the Cat

By Anupum Pant

Booby traps play with your mind. They cause fear and uncertainty and can be hidden in anything. For these psychological traps to be the most effective, they are often hidden in the most familiar or the most ordinary things. Especially something that a soldier would decide to move for some random reason.

During the world war one and two the Germans probably demonstrated the most creative booby traps. The most interesting one was booby trapping a framed picture on the wall. The Germans would make the picture skewed and booby trapped it. Knowing that the gentlemen soldiers would come in and straighten the picture without even thinking that it could be a trap, they’d trigger the bomb.