Cocktail Party Effect and Jr. High Students Part 3

Suggested Filters

Cherry’s suggested a few possible filters to help distinguish between conversations

1. The voices come from different directions

2. Lip-reading, gestures, and the like

3. Different speaking voices, mean pitches, mean speeds, male vs. female, and so forth

4. Different accents

5. Transition probabilities (based on subject matter, voice dynamics, syntax . . .) (Arons, 1992)

Jr. High Filters

Explanations for the ability to multi-task in jr. high students

1. Different media causes different reactions (i.e. listening to music while typing is two different tasks)

2. Audible sounds are coming from different directions

3. IM (Instant Message Screens) provide small moments of freedom to finish up other tasks

4. Perceptual grouping (when two channels are semantically consistent, for example audio and video on a t.v. screen allow viewers to process, attend and recall information easily (Bergen, L., Grimes, T., & Potter, D., 2005 and Foehr, 2006b)

As seen in Cherry’s original research the idea of multi tasking among teens does not strive far from the cocktail problem effect. Both need a varying stimulus in order to perceive more then one conversation, or media application.

Broadbent’t Filter Theory (Image 1.1) (Broadbent, 1958 & Smith, 2002)

The diagram shows how the flow of sensory information flows through a variation of processes, that would range from our left-right. The diagram also shows how stimulus received at the same time fight to make it through our selective filter. Our selective filter sorts through the received stimulus to decide how to further process or attend to only one of the imputing stimulus, which is passed along to the limited capacity channels, two substantially more advanced subsystems. The first, system for varying output until some input is secured, which is eventually in direct contact and

communication with our motor systems (effectors). That circulation is responsible for maintaining and initiating behavior towards a goal. The second subsystem is the store of conditional probabilities of past events, and is responsible, via the feedback pathway shown, for modulating the decisions being made by the filter towards those inputs which past experience indicates are associated with success at the goal in question (or similar goals). Another feedback pathway recycles material which is at risk of being lost due to the limited capacity of the filter and its channel back into

short term memory storage. (Broadbent, 1958 & Smith, 2002)

Broadbent’t Filter Theory in Regards to Multi-Tasking (Image 1.2) (Broadbent, 1958 & James, 2006)

This filter functions together with a buffer, and enables the subject to handle two kinds of stimuli, presented at the same time. One of the inputs is allowed through the filter, while the

other is waiting in in the buffer for later processing. The filter prevents overloading of the limited capacity mechanism beyond the filter, which is the short term memory. Most information processing theories suggest that there is a limit to what our brains can actually process ‘simultaneously’(Meyer, D.E., & Kieras, D.E.,1997, Pashler, H., 2000, S. Mansell & J.Driver, & Foehr, 2006b). Research shows that while we can perceive two stimuli in parallel, we cannot process them simultaneously.(Pashler, 2000, Mansell, 2000 & Foehr, 2006b). This phenomenon has been named the psychological refractory period (PRP). Messages A-D could be any multi-media source, whether IM, email, homework, or watching t.v., as the attention switches between tasks the older stimuli are retrieved from the long term memory store so that multi-tasking can continue. Each task goes through the selective filter at different times so that the teen can choose at their convenience what task to attend to at that moment. With the information and the Filter Theory as a plan young people are not processing non-complementary messages they are simply filtering different tasks just as Cherry proposed with the cocktail party theory suggests that different pitches, tones and direction of audible sounds aloud for easier pick up of multiple conversations.


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