Have you ever tried to get attention of someone busy in reading book, playing video game or watching TV or computer? You don’t have to worry now as you are not being intentionally ignored for not receiving response from your friend. Moreover, from next time whenever your friend ignores you while doing some visional task, don’t ever fight with him. Researchers from the University College London has come up with a new term called ‘inattentional deafness’, which states that concentrating one’s attention on a visual task can makes person temporarily deaf.
The research published in the Journal of Neuroscience suggests that brain’s visual and auditory processing centers share limited neural resources, called the association cortex. This happens because of the limitation in processing capacity; the brain is forced to choose between the two senses and fails to multi-task. The phenomenon of inattentional deafness generally happens with everyone that we fail to hear voice while being indulged in playing video games or watching TV.
On doing brain scans of 13 volunteers, researchers found that the brain response to sound was significantly reduced when they were engaged in demanding visual task. They found higher rate of failures to detect sounds in people during visual demanding task despite of the fact that the sounds were normally audible. Dr. Maria Chait, from the UCL Ear Institute, said the study conducted on volunteers showed that people were not only ignoring or filtering out the sounds instead they were not actually hearing them in the first place.
Professor Nilli Lavie, from the UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, said now we got to know the reason behind ‘inattentional deafness’, which is a common experience in everyday life. Lavie cites the everyday experience of inattentional deafness as, some people fail to hear announcement for train or bus while standing at railway or bus platform. She even cited serious implication of inattentional deafness as surgeon busy in doing some work in the operation theater fails to hear beeping sound from the equipment. Also, drivers concentrating on complex satnav directions as well as cyclists and motorists who are focusing intently on something such as an advert or even simply an interesting-looking passer-by.