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J Exp Psychol Learn Mem Cogn. 1995 Jan;21(1):255-60.

The cocktail party phenomenon revisited: how frequent are attention shifts to one's name in an irrelevant auditory channel?

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Department of Psychology, University of Missouri, Columbia 65211.


N. Moray's (1959) well-known study of the "cocktail party phenomenon" suggested that participants sometimes notice their name embedded in an ignored auditory channel. However, the empirical finding was preliminary in nature and never has been directly replicated. This was done with improved methodological controls, and the relationship between on-line attention shifts to one's name and subsequent recollection of the name in a sample of 34 undergraduates was examined. Similar to N. Moray, only 34.6% of the participants recalled hearing their name in the channel to be ignored. Only those participants showed on-line evidence of attention shifts, and those shifts occurred only for the two items following the name. The results suggest that participants who detected their name monitored the irrelevant channel for a short time afterward.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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