Cocktail Party Effect

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The ability of a listener to focus attention on a single talker among a mixture of crowd conversations and background noise while, at the same time, ignoring speech from other locations. Understanding is possible due to the ear / brain discrimination of unwanted sound as well as lip reading and body language. A single microphone recording of the same conversation, absent these additional factors, may be totally unintelligible and unusable as evidence in court. Glossary of Acoustic Terms

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