Talk:Cocktail party effect

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Other sources[edit]

I believe the sources the author used are not very confident. If one knows only a little about the cocktail party effect one can still see that research did not stop after Broadbent and that the cocktail party effect is probably one of the best understood paradigms in cognitive psychology.

I am afraid I do not have the time to correct it (and my English is not good enough to write an article), but there definitly are at least four parts that have to be integrated:

  1. Neville Moray's experimental results. Moray found that Broadbents Filter Theory had to be revised as one could pay attention to another source if it was important enough. When the subject shadowed a message it could still hear parts of the other message such as his on name.
  2. Anne Treisman's Attenuation Theory which seemed to be a better explanation than Broadbent's theory. It works like a siv rather than a filter.
  3. Deutsch & Deutsch's Late Selection Theory. Broadbent's and Treisman's theories were early selection theories. The "bottleneck" (due to limited capacity) came early in lower cognitive mechanisms. Deutsch & Deutsch proposed that the "bottleneck" came later, in higher cognitive mechanisms, viz. the short-term memory.
  4. Later it came to a controverse between Treisman an Deutsch & Deutsch: Is selection early or late? Johnston & Heinz (1978) proposed that both were right. An alternative model was proposed by Lavie (1995) which terms that the "perceptual load plays a causal role in determining the efficiency of selective attention."

Without any of these additions, this article does not reflect what it should.

Unisono01 (you can find me at

Parallels in vision[edit]

I've noticed, by experimentation after my interest's arousal one boring day, that much the same situation as the Cocktail Party Effect occurs with the eyes. I focus on an object in the center of my vision, as is normal, and hold a hand up at the very corner of my vision. I find it impossible to truly comprehend my hand beyond the fact of its presence without tearing my vision away from the center. I can tell when there is motion, and can count the fingers on my hand by noticing five movements when individually opening each finger, but my mind can't process counting five open fingers, even if my hand is only a third of my vision away from the center.

The effect you describe sounds very similar to the Cocktail Party effect. Indeed, you can concentrate your vision on your fingers in the periphery without fixating. So your attention does not necessarily have to be paired with your focus of vision. Normally, the reason why you can't see your hand acute, is not an attention phenomenon. It has rather to do with your eyes ability to see clear in the periphery of your eyes. In the centre of your focus, your eyes have a much better resolution, but you normally do not notice it. See, if you can find an article about the organisation of the mammal's eye.
It is my understanding via sources I do not recall easily that human vision is split into two areas: the primary focal area and the peripheral vision. The primary focal area is very sensitive to details and color, where as the peripheral is less so but much more sensitive to contrast and motion. As such we can easily detect specific subjects in our peripheral, but must look (almost) directly at them to clearly identify them.
Mark of chesterfamily dot org.

I corrected some of the grammar and tried to even out the writing, but in some instances, I don't know enough to make corrections.

1. You refer to Arons without telling us his full name or a full citation to his work outside the internet.
2. Maybe the citations should be in footnotes, rather than in the text, as the casual reader won't be particularly interested in original the sources.
3. Is it Broadbend or Broadbent? Both spellings appear.
4. You refer to "dichotic listening experiments," but the non-expert won't know what that means.
OK, I've fixed all of these problems, apart from number 4 which was already resolved by linking to the article on dichotic listening. --mcld 12:04, 2 June 2006 (UTC)

Effectively Broken External Link[edit]

The external link to "Theories of percption" requires a username and password. Will the person who posted it please provide some other method of access that works? otherwise, this should be removed. -billy drexel

not for me/research?[edit]

I don't seem to experience this effect very much. On the contrary, I often have problems to hear what other people are saying when there is much background noise. This gives me many problems when attending parties, social events or simply goint to clubs/discotheques. Is there any research about people not having this filter or where it is not as effective? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:27, 6 February 2008 (UTC)

Treisman 1960[edit]

What is Treisman (1960)?

It seems that perhaps this citation (not in the bibliography) was pasted from the Milton webpage, which is listed here as an external reference. That page also does not contain the citation in its bibliography (although it is peppered with references to Treisman (1960)). Looking at the bibliography of Goldstein's cognitive psychology textbook, two potentially relevant citations may be:

Treisman, A.M. (1964a) Selective attention in man. British Medical Bulletin, 20, 12–16.

Treisman, A.M. (1964b) Contextual cues in selective listening. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 12, 242–245.

(I don't have those papers handy or time to examine them or to check into what the the "real" Treisman 1960 may be.) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Sbump (talkcontribs) 23:28, 22 September 2008 (UTC)

Relation to fatigue and or depression?[edit]

Subjectively, the effect seems to go away when I'm either very tired or in one of my major-depressive bouts. Is there any research on this? If so, please add this info. -- (talk) 01:18, 30 April 2010 (UTC)

You will have to look at Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) research. the "cocktail party effect" is one subtype of APD, regarding dichotic listening. APD is about having problems processing what you hear, or having a listening disability. dolfrog (talk) 01:57, 30 April 2010 (UTC)

Effect in music[edit]

If there's a source, we could mention that the same thing happens when listening to music. You can choose to pick out certain instruments in a song to the exclusion of others. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:36, 10 December 2010 (UTC)

Improvement of this article[edit]

In the next month, I will be performing a series of edits on this article in hopes of improving its clarity, content, and quality of resources as part of the APS Wikipedia Initiative.RoconnorUWO (talk) 02:02, 13 March 2012 (UTC)

I have made a number of changes in this article, including a rewording of the article's introduction, as well as the inclusion of two subsections: "Models of attention" and "Visual correlates," each with a combined total of 15 new references added to the reflist. I also included two new images, one depicting Kahneman's capacity model and the other depicting a comparison of some selection models. I chose to leave the sections on Monaural and Binaural hearing alone, as detailed discussion of that was largely outside the range of my research. To view only the sections that I myself have included in this article, including references, please visit my user sandbox. RoconnorUWO (talk) 18:09, 10 April 2012 (UTC)

Selective Attention Edits and Additions[edit]

We will be doing a series of edits on this page as part of our Cognitive Psychology Class. We intend to add a section on the effect of emotions (fear, anger, perception of ugliness) and stimuli (language, personal names, categories, and chaos) on selective attention. In addition, we hope to clean up any vocabulary on this page that is unclear and add citations where needed. Below is an outline of what we intend the page to look like:

Frdevine (talk) 01:44, 20 February 2013 (UTC)

Frdevine (talk) 04:01, 17 February 2013 (UTC)

Hi Frdevine! All sources you mention are WP:primary sources, that is, results of single studies. In order to know if the results of these studies really represent encyclopedic information, you need to know if the results have been peer-reviewed and replicated. For that, you need WP:secondary sources, such as reviews (however, the introduction of a primary source can be a review-like, when the authors discuss numerous results of earlier studies). So please, reconsider your choice of journals and use secondary sources instead! Lova Falk talk 08:43, 17 February 2013 (UTC)

They are all peer-reviewed articles. Frdevine (talk) 21:53, 17 February 2013 (UTC)

My mistake! I should not have used the expression peer-reviewed. The main problem is that they are primary sources. Please use secondary or tertiary sources instead. I can recommend reading WP:MEDRS for a better understanding of which sources to use in Wikipedia. Lova Falk talk 09:52, 19 February 2013 (UTC)

In addition to those five sources, my partner and I intend to use

  • Dennis, Paul A.; Amy Halberstadt (Jan 2013). "Is believing seeing? The role of emotion-related beliefs in selective attention to affective cues.". Cognition and Emotion 27 (1): 3-20. doi:10.1080/02699931.2012.680578.
  • Shapiro, K.L.; J.Caldwell & R. E. Sorensen. "Personal names and the attentional blink: A visual 'cocktail party' effect.". Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance 23 (2): 504-514. doi:10.1037/0096-1523.23.2.504. Retrieved 14 February 2013.
  • Ward, Robert; Ronnie Ward (Oct. 2008). "Selective Attention and Control of Action : Comparative Psychology of an Artificial, Evolved Agent and People". Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance 34 (5): 1165-1182. doi:10.1037/0096-1523.34.5.1165.
  • Reel, L; C. Hicks (2012). "Selective auditory attention in adults: Effects of rhythmic structure of the competing language.". Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research 55 (1): 89-104. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2011/10-0193).
  • ShinWoo, Kim; Bob Rehder (May 2011). "How prior knowledge affects selective attention during category learning: An eyetracking study.". Memory & Cognition 39 (4): 649-665. doi:10.3758/s13421-010-0050-3. Retrieved 14 February 2013.

Maleonard (talk) 02:15, 18 February 2013 (UTC)Maleonard

Hi Maleonard! All sources you mention are WP:primary sources, that is, results of single studies. However, Wikipedia is not an academic paper or essay! Wikipedia articles should be based on reliable, published secondary sources (for instance, reviews) and, to a lesser extent, on tertiary sources (such as professional or advanced academic textbooks -i.e. not undergraduate introductory textbooks). WP:MEDRS describes how to identify reliable sources for medical information, which is a good guideline for many psychology articles as well. So please, reconsider your choice of journals and use secondary sources instead! Lova Falk talk 10:15, 19 February 2013 (UTC)

Comment to Frdevine[edit]

Hi Frdevine! The three sources that you just added are all WP:primary sources, that is, results of single studies. However, and once more, Wikipedia is not an academic paper or essay! Wikipedia articles should be based on reliable, published secondary sources (for instance, journal reviews and professional or advanced academic textbooks) and, to a lesser extent, on tertiary sources (such as undergraduate textbooks). WP:MEDRS describes how to identify reliable sources for medical information, which is a good guideline for many psychology articles as well. So please, reconsider your choice of sources and use secondary sources instead! With friendly regards, Lova Falk talk 07:56, 25 February 2013 (UTC)


I have to say that I was skeptic when I came to this article since I had to remind several of your classmates not to use primary sources. However, while you have added some primary sources you have also found several high quality secondary sources. I would recommend to stick to these secondary sources, and in any case where you want to add a primary source per historical reasons (a seminal work in the field) try to add both: the primary and another more recent secondary source backing up the primary source and putting it into context.

Nevertheless I have reverted your addition to the monoaural section. You can not back up content on how human attention works with a primary source from a machine simulation in an engineering journal such as IEEE. This is the perfect example why secondary sources should be used. It is clear to give undue weight to a work that probably does not merit it.

Bests.--Garrondo (talk) 15:35, 21 March 2013 (UTC)

Changes to Selective Attention page[edit]

Thank you Garrondo and Lova Falk for helping Frdevine and I through our process to clean up the page. We have been trying to take your advice about the sources, but we have to say, it is very difficult to change our mindset from scholarly articles to "wikipedia worthy" review articles. Since this is part of a class project, we have been trying to honor the wishes of wikipedia while also trying to add insightful information about the selective attention. We have used the following sources, many of them reviews or books, to clean up and organize the page. We also added a section about the stimuli that intrude awareness/attention.













  1. ^ Slatky, H (1991). "Modeling of binaural discrimination of multiple sound sources: A contribution to the development of a "cocktail party processor"". The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 89. 
  2. ^ Fitz, JB; M Elhilali, SV David, SA Shamma (2007). "Auditory Attention--Focusing the Searchlight on Sound". Current Opinion in Neurobiology 17 (4): 437–455. 
  3. ^ Revlin, Russell (2007). Human Cognition : Theory and Practice. New York, NY: Worth Pub. p. 59. ISBN 9780716756675. 
  4. ^ Moray, N. (1959), Attention in dichotic listening: Affective cues and the influence of instructions. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 11, 56-60.
  5. ^ Wood, Noelle; Cowan, Nelson (1995). "The Cocktail Party Phenomenon Revisited: How Frequent Are Attention Shifts to One's Name in an Irrelevant Auditory Channel?". Journal of Experimental Psychology 21 (1): 255–260. doi:10.1037/0278-7393.21.1.255. 
  6. ^ Newman, Rochelle S (2005). "The Cocktail Party Effect in Infants Revisited: Listening to One's Name in Noise". Developmental Psychology 41 (2): 352–362. doi:10.1037/0012-1649.41.2.352. 
  7. ^ Cherry, Colin E (1953). "Some Experiments on the Recognition of Speech, with One and with Two Ears". The Journal of The Acoustical Society of America 25 (5): 975 Extra |pages= or |at= (help). doi:10.1121/1.1907229. 
  8. ^ Straube, E. R; Germer, C. K (1979). "Dichotic shadowing and selective attention to word meanings in schizophrenia". Journal of Abnormal Psychology 88 (4): 346 Extra |pages= or |at= (help). doi:10.1037/0021-843X.88.4.346. 
  9. ^ Nielsen, Steven L; Sarason, Irwin G (1981). "Emotion, Personality, and Selective Attention". Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 41 (5): 945 Extra |pages= or |at= (help). 
  10. ^ Wood, Noelle (1995). "The Cocktail Party Phenomenon Revisited: Attention and Memory in the Classic Selective Listening Procedure of Cherry (1953)". Journal of Experimental Psychology: General: 243 Extra |pages= or |at= (help). doi:10.1037/0096-3445.124.3.243. 
  11. ^ Krech, David (1959). Elements of Psychology. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. p. 130 Extra |pages= or |at= (help). ISBN 978-0-394-32417-3. 

We appreciate all constructive feedback before deleting any of our work, because we would like to make this page informative for all of the readers. Thank you.

--maleonard frdevine (talk) (talk) 22:12 21 March 2013

Review articles are also scholarly articles. Moreover, they are the most informative ones when trying to get a good overview of a subject. Did you know that scholarly reviews in most journals are only by invitation? Only the biggest experts in a subject get to writte a review for a scientific journal, since it is considered that they are the only ones capable of really knowing the state of the art in a field. Additionally, if there is no reviews for a subject it usually means that it is so obscure and badly researched that it does not merit inclusion in wikipedia.
Now, a small question on one source added: In the ref <ref>{{cite book|last=Krech|first=David|title=Elements of Psychology|year=1959|publisher=Alfred A. Knopf|location=New York|isbn=039432417X|page=130|pages=131}}</ref> Do you mean that content is in pages 130 and 131? In such case I would say that you should say

<Do you mean that content is in pages 130 and 131? In such case I would say that you should say <ref>{{cite book|last=Krech|first=David|title=Elements of Psychology|year=1959|publisher=Alfred A. Knopf|location=New York|isbn=039432417X|page=|pages=130-131}}</ref>

--Garrondo (talk) 21:00, 22 March 2013 (UTC)

I have just taken a look to the section on stimuli that intrude. As far as I have seen it is all based on primary sources. Moreover: the tone of the full section is not encyclopedic but highly research like. Wikipedia psychology articles should be based on generalities and conclussions, and not so much in describing specific studies. This section is a complete X did this in the year X and X did that in the year Y. It is precisely the type of writting that derives from use of primary sources. However: who are you to decide that these specific articles are the most important ones, and not a random recollection from inserting in google the term you are searching for? A search for Dichotic listening in yields 2500 articles. What has led you to choose the ones you inserted in your article? (There are however around 70 reviews in pubmed for that terms, which would give you the state of the art that experts believe we are now with far more knowledge than you (or me)).
Take a look for example at the schizophrenia article a featured article (one of the best articles in wikipedia): you will not find writting saying X performed an investigation in schizophrenics in 1993 and his colleague X in 2002, since it is not the relevant thing for an encyclopedia. The importante thing is the the conclussions that experts have already drawn from this articles and written in secondary sources.
I hope you improve sources and content with it... Right now it sounds quite like an essay, or a research article, but not an encyclopedia.
--Garrondo (talk) 21:21, 22 March 2013 (UTC)

Note to Peer Review Editors[edit]

When peer-reviewing this article please look into the history and look at the corrections that were made to the Early Work and Binaural Processing. We also added a new section titled: Stimuli that Intrude Awareness and organized the Models of Attention Section. Under Monaural Processing there are citation needed tags. We found citations for those, but other reviewers on this page deleted them because they were not secondary sources. We have tried to find secondary sources for that topic, but have been unsuccessful in doing so.

Thanks, maleonard frdevine (talk) (talk) 13:56 22 March 2013 —Preceding undated comment added 17:57, 22 March 2013 (UTC)

Image and other changes[edit]

I have eliminated the image in the article. It seems original research by a previous student in which he tried to summarize from his/her point of view the different models. Unless such a scheme is explicitely stated in a reliable secondary source (and then we would probably have copyright problems) to include it in the article is WP:OR.

On the other hand I have eliminated the tags on the articles, since they do not apply anymore. The recent elimination of some of the content was probably a good idea, since it was not clear the integration in the current article.

As I stated above the main problem right now is that the no-use of secondary sources has lead to a succession of descriptions of primary article methods and results, with no clear reasoning on why are they important (or if even they are important). This is not an encyclopedic tone... However I feel that right now there is not much hope of this being fixed (I would be very happy to be wrong...)

Other possible improvements: the article is greatly underlinked: many more technical or important terms should be linked. As a hint: probably any concept that a 14-years old student does not understand should be wikilinked.

--Garrondo (talk) 14:55, 12 April 2013 (UTC)

PET info eliminated[edit]

Functional neuroimaging (either PET or fMRI) are exploratory techiques due to their spatial and temporal resolution, number of statistical comparisons performed, limitations in task designing and other. In this sense to claim anything from a single study is way too bold. I have eliminated the info, but moved it here since it may give some hints to look for secondary sources summarizing the estate of the art regarding brain activation and attention.

--Garrondo (talk) 14:41, 19 April 2013 (UTC)

It has been suggested in brain imaging studies using PET that a variety of brain areas may be involved in selectively processing visual linguistic material (i.e. word form), including the inferior prefrontal and posterior insular cortices, the amygdala, caudate nucleus, and several areas of temporal cortex.[1] It is currently unknown if these same brain areas are implicated in focusing attention for other visual or auditory stimuli.

Further reading eliminated[edit]

It only had 2 peer-reviewed articles which in case that were really that interesting (I do not think they actually were) should be added as inline citations to the article. Citations were:

--Garrondo (talk) 21:04, 1 May 2013 (UTC)

  1. ^ Vorobyev, Victor A.; Alho, Kimmo; Medvedev, Svyatoslav V.; Pakhomov, Sergey V.; Roudas, Marina S.; Rutkovskaya, Julia M.; Tervaniemi, Mari; van Zuijen, Titia L.; Näätänen, Risto (2004). "Linguistic processing in visual and modality-nonspecific brain areas: PET recordings during selective attention.". Cognitive Brain Research 20 (2): 309–322. doi:10.1016/j.cogbrainres.2004.03.011.