The Scicurious Brain

The Scicurious Brain

The Good, Bad, and Weird in Physiology and Neuroscience

Picking a voice from the crowd: Focus on the face


There's a classic "problem" (meaning one that our brains have to solve, not us, though we do have to solve how our brains do it) in sensory perception: the cocktail party problem. When we're at a cocktail party (or, for those of us like me who are not swanky enough to go to cocktail parties, at a bar or a crowded coffee shop or a conference), and we are trying to focus on conversation with a single person while everyone else is also DO we do that? How can we pick out a single voice and understand it when other voices around us are as loud or louder as the one we are trying to hear? Well, some of it is attention, and it turns out that some of it may also be the face. Focus on the face. Head over to Neurotic Physiology and check it out.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

Share this Article:


You must sign in or register as a member to submit a comment.

Give a Gift &
Get a Gift - Free!

Give a 1 year subscription
as low as $9.99

Subscribe Now! >


Email this Article