All you need to know about the Cocktail Party Effect of Selective Attention

Cocktail Party Effect Psychology is part of the selective attention

Cocktail party effect, cocktail party effect psychology, selective attention, attention, filter theory of attention, filter theory,attentinal processes, stimuli, the cocktail party effect, cocktail party
Img Source: Zoo Bar

Cocktail Party Effect Psychology | The Cocktail party effect is the phenomenon of a brain to filter out the rest of the irrelevant information to the brain and impinge brain to focus only on essential stimuli. It is also called selective attention. Attentional processes come under cognitive psychology. It is proposed by Moray in the years 1959. We have heard about the cocktail party. A cocktail party is a party at which alcoholic drinks are served for the business gathering. It is also known by the term of the Cocktail Reception. It is usually organized in a noisy area where loud noise and music is present to chill-out.

But the question is How the Cocktail party is connected with the Psychological Attentional Processes. Here’s how

What is the Cocktail Party Effect?

Img Source: Georges Mediterranean Bar & Grill

Look at this image, the huge party is organized by the organizer. So many people’s is sitting on the chairs. Peoples are enjoying the loud sound, loud music everywhere. They all are drunk too. If you are trying to interfere with the friend’s communication who is sitting next to you. You would not be able to audible to the conversation of your friends.

Magic in the Cocktail Party

If your name is said or someone uttered your name. Even if you are not attending to it. Cocktail party effect is applied. You will able to perceive your name in a noisy environment. Cocktail Party effect: Shadowing performance is disrupted when one’s own name is embedded in either the attended or unattended ear. The facts are seen because of the important material can penetrate the setup to block unintended messages.

Cocktail Party Effect can be seen due to the Filter theory of attention. Let’s quickly move on to the Filter theory of selective attention Psychology

Img Source: My Purple Slate

. It is a really simple theory of attention.

Filter Theory of Attention or Selective Attention

It is proposed by Broadbent in the year 1958 to show how much information can be processed for cognition to occur. The theory was specially designed to show how much information people can perceive. If the information given at any time exceeds the capacity of the mental limits, a filter is designed to block most information of left those stimuli pass on to which we are paying our attention to.

What are the factors based on filter theory? How to Filter theory is applied to the stimuli and the messages or attention we received. What is the variable which controls the filter?

Look at the diagram, there are several messages named at 1,2,3,4,5,6 and 7 which are trying to invade the cognitive system.  The first layer is the cognitive barrier which is the psychological or physical barrier. Some messages are impinging on it. But the limit of the brain is limited. So, the filter is required to process only relevant and most essential information to process in our brain.


What are the properties of the filter? How does filter work?

Physical Properties of the stimulus is the deciding factor of the filter to do their work. So, the stimulus guides the filter. Some basic physical properties to look up for the process of selective attention are Pitch, loudness and the location. According to the filter theory of selective attention says that any message on which you are not paying attention to will be blocked. Only those message which has not been put to a limitation will be passed on the message. The properties like the direction of the message backward or forward, male or the female are the deciding factors for the message to perceive.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here