Cacophony Acoustics

How do frogs hear each other in a noisy pond? Just the way we would, as it turns out.

By Emily Sohn, 00:00 AM April 18, 2007

You're in the middle of a bustling school lunchroom. Some girls are yelling behind you. Right beside you, a boy is singing along with his iPod. Other kids are playing a rowdy game in the corner. Meanwhile, you are trying to talk to your friend across the table.

How can you single out one voice amid a sea of noise? You could call this "the loud lunchroom problem."

Scientists have a different name for it. They call it "the cocktail party problem." (After all, adults have the same problem hea...

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