Cocktail party effect with children

Background Information:

In class, we learned about the cocktail party effect and how our brain shifts between conversations and our focus goes towards one thing, although there are other distractions going on at the same time. The cocktail party definition in my own words, is your brains ability to focus on it’s auditory attention on one stimulus at a time.

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According to Science daily, “Marc Vander Ghinst and colleagues used magnetoencephalography to measure six- to nine-year-old children and adults’ brain activity while listening to a recorded storyteller mixed with background conversations” (p.1). This article discusses research collected from children of the ages six to nine. In this research there is proof that a child’s brain has not developed enough to process everything that is going on around them. Due to a child’s brain not developing to it’s fullest at that age, it makes sense why this is very hard for them to do. Another important fact from science daily explains, “The researchers found that, compared to adults, children’s brains struggled to focus on the intended speaker’s voice with increasing background noise levels” (p.1). This makes more sense to me know after learning this because children at this age have a hard time paying attention when there is more speaker talking at once, especially with the intense levels around them.

Cocktail party effect: How the brain filters noise |

Personal experience:

When I was younger I had the hardest times paying attention in large crowds and I never quite understood why since other people were able to. I remember being at ceremonies or large parties and just feeling extremely overwhelmed, but as I got older this became easier for me and I do well in large crowds. When we learned about this in class it was a come to life moment for me!


One thought on “Cocktail party effect with children

  1. mhart2402

    I feel this way now as an adult because I’m extremely introverted and dealing with too much sensory overload just drains all the energy out of me. Sometimes when I’m at work and assisting one customer, it distracts me to the point of almost spacing out if there’s too many people talking at once, especially if they’re talking loudly.

    I don’t recall ever having that issue as a kid, but I also can’t remember much from my childhood outside of random bits of my memory that just creep to the front of my mind from time to time.

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