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The Cocktail Party Effect With and Without Conflicting Visual Clues

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When a listener finds himself in a room where sounds issue simultaneously from several different sources, e.g. several people are talking at the same time and the sound from these sources "hits" the listener from differing directions, the listener is able to apply his attention to one particular sound source or the direction from which it comes. The ability enables him to understand a spoken text even if there is an adverse "signal to noise" ratio. This phenomenon is usually referred to as the "Cocktail Party Effect" (E.C. Cherry, 1953, and many others). Another phenomenon mentioned earlier in the literature (Klemm, 1909) is described by the "Gesetz der räumlichen Komplikation" (Law of Spatial Complication). This states that sensory events from various senses (e.g. hearing and vision) which could originate from one sound only even though they actually originate from two different sources separated in space mere into one source. This happens, within rather narrow limits, relating to distance and direction.

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