|Woman tunes out her spouse. (Fotolia.com) |
So you didn't hear her when she told you to take out the trash.
Don't get defensive: Get scientific.
Long-married couples, at least those under age 60, can tune out the voice of the other according to new research.
Scientists knew we can pick out a familiar voice from a room of speakers, but researchers at Queen's University in Kingston have found we also can single out a familiar voice to exclude to better hear a stranger.
"People can exploit knowledge of a highly familiar voice (their spouse's) not only to track it better in the presence of an interfering stranger's voice, but also, crucially, to ignore it," researchers wrote in study published in Psychological Science.
"People can hold a novel voice better when the familiar voice is interfering," said Ingrid Johnsrude, a cognitive neuroscientist who specializes in learning how the brain processes sound.
Among their findings:
The findings, taken together, suggest our ability to hear doesn't simply diminish because that sensory capacity diminishes. too. Hearing loss may be partly rooted in our brain's reduced capacity to make sense of competing sounds, a complex endeavour in the din of a cocktail party.
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