[M.M.X.I.V. 240] Cocktail party effect

The name of this psychological phenomenon almost seems to be counter to wherever I may be, as I am not one who is commonly seen at events with alcohol (although I feel a cocktail party may be more likely for me since I would anticipate that a highbrow event would be controlled in terms of drinking).  The phenomenon normally refers to your attention immediately shifting if you hear your name or perceive that you hear your name.

For me, the key thing to that is “perceive” to hear my name.  Whenever I overhear a conversation and someone makes a negation, I might turn my head, especially if the conversation is between people that I know.  I guess that is a disadvantage of the cocktail party effect with my name (since it can sound like a common word, NO!), or with names that are common (such as Andrew, Sarah, etc.).

However, for me, the cocktail party effect extends to topics that are fascinating or salient to me.  This short story that follows considers one of these cases.

It was Thursday, January 21, 2010, and I had gone downtown to meet some of my colleagues at Adler Planetarium for Adler After Dark.  However, I could not find any of them at the planetarium, so like usual, I did my own thing with the activities.  This involved seeing a film about BLAST, a telescope.  I also saw demos of liquid nitrogen, balloon lifts, and more.  Although I didn’t meet up with any of my colleagues, I still had a good time–I do not hold the stigma in my head of going “stag” to events.

On the return trip to the L station, I was on a bus, and overheard a conversation near me that involved “Carter Lake.”  Given that I am originally from Lincoln, Carter Lake immediately conjured the association: EPPLEY AIRFIELD.  So, I got into a conversation with this person, who had gone to Omaha Mercy High School and later to Creighton University.  I do not recall more of the conversation, but it was pretty brief as we chatted on the bus and up until Jackson of the Red Line.

And afterward, another person engaged in conversation with me, under the basic idea that he was impressed by my comfort in conversing with a complete stranger. It is much easier when you immediately find common ground!


Today is the two-hundred and fortieth day of M.M.X.I.V.   That makes thirty-four weeks and two days.

Today is the forty-fifth day of the Character Building Trial.  That makes six weeks and three days.


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