Selective Attention - Cocktail Party Effect
by Anna Kasinski
Selective attention allows individuals to select or focus on one process while tuning out others. Donald Broadbent's "filter theory of attention" explains this phenomenon by stating that attention is a "bottleneck through which information passes", which then allows individuals to focus on the important. Related to these phenomena's is the "cocktail party effect". This refers to one's ability to hear something significant or important to them in a conversation that they are not directly involved in. I believe these theories are important because they are evident in our everyday life, and are a good example of how psychology affects people. Most of society would not realize why or how they heard their hometown come up in a conversation across the room. Most of society does not realize why we actually do have selective hearing. But psychology opens up our brains and makes sense of things that we encounter daily. I think that this is one of the most relatable to me, and would be to others as well.
Just the other day, I was eating lunch and I overheard someone talking about an organization I had been involved with in high school, it turns out we had mutual friends and experiences! The lunchroom was a noisy place, and this person was a table away, but because the filter in my brain thought that organization was an important term to me, it recognized this out of the distant conversation. To me, this is fascinating!
The book goes into some details about Selective Attention and the Cocktail Party Effect, but I would like to know more. I would like to see more studies, and how this effect and theory can be applied in areas like business.
Below I have linked to several articles and images for further reading and entertainment! Enjoy!