Ever wonder why you can distinguish your friend’s voice at a party despite the cacophony surrounding you? Well, it’s because your brain is (no surprise) an amazing instrument. In a recent study, scientists at the University of California, San Francisco, proved that your brain has the ability to focus on a single sound like your friend’s voice even if you are in an extremely noisy place.
Known as the cocktail effect, it explains why you can tune out the music, revelers and general mayhem of a bar or party, and instead hear a single conversation. Even if your brain gets slightly distracted for a few seconds, it’s able to quickly refocus on single voice. The results of this study could help enhance voice-activated devices like Apple’s Siri. Improvements would help the devices pick out your voice from a crowd of speakers.
Science, however, cannot help you tune into anything if you decide to reach the befuddlement side of alcohol by drinking too much. Your brain will have a harder time focusing on anything, including your friend’s amazing story of the day.