The Cherry Effect helps you scan for opportunities and threats
The Cherry effect is a phenomena which explains that even in a noisy crowd, you will still here your own name being spoken.
Our ability to separate one conversation from another is beautifully demonstrated in a classic study carried out by Colin Cherry, then at Imperial College London (Cherry, 1953) . Cherry used the simple method of playing back two different messages at the same time to people, under a variety of conditions. In doing so he discovered just how good we are at filtering what we hear.
The real surprise, though, came in the second set of experiments.
For these Cherry fed one message to the left ear and one to the right ear — and once again both messages were voiced by the same speaker.
Suddenly participants found the task incredibly easy. Indeed many were surprised how easily and accurately they could tune in to either one of the messages, and even shift their attention back and forth between the two. No longer did they have to close their eyes to concentrate – this was much easier.
This seems much closer to most people’s experience of picking out one conversation from a multitude. Generally people are arrayed all around us and their conversations come from various different directions and at different volumes. We seem to be able to use this information to reject all but the one in which we are interested.
This is an example of how you are constantly scanning your environment to pinpoint opportunities and threats. Even when your conscious attention is focused somewhere else. There are several other notable example of when you may be aware of your attention sudden being hijacked to refocus on another point, such as when you buy a red car, you suddenly begin to see red cars everywhere . These red cars contain aspirational drivers or passengers, i.e. you will be more likely to notice a person of your age rather than an older or much younger person [unless you desire that trait!]
How to use the cherry effect to your advantage!
You will be amazed at how, once you have decided on a route or a course of action to be taken and time-scales, you will suddenly notice opportunities which will help you achieve or maintain this route and time-scale.
Give this a try and let me know your thoughts and remember…