It’s a phenomenon that has long fascinated the scientific community: When in a noisy, crowded room, a person will still prick up their ears if their name is mentioned. Equally, two guests can isolate what the other says from the surrounding cacophony. They are able to engage in a private conversation without speaking louder than those around them. This is known as the “cocktail party effect, ” but it was air traffic controllers, not socialites, who led to its study This story is from Kinfolk Issue Thirty-Eight Buy Now Related Stories Arts & Culture City Guide The Standard, High Line Setting a high standard in the Lower West Side. Arts & Culture Food Issue 46 At Work With: Deb Perelman The little blog that could: An interview with Smitten Kitchen’s unflappable founder. Arts & Culture Issue 46 Word: Wintering When to withdraw from the world. Arts & Culture Issue 46 Brock Colyar An interview with a professional partygoer. Arts & Culture Issue 46 Studio Visit: Yoko Kubrick In the studio with a sculptor of monuments and mythologies. Arts & Culture Issue 46 Community Inc. Can a brand be friends with its fans?