Sensation, Perception, and Attention


When individuals work as a team with an aim of attaining one common goal, the sensation, perception and attention of each individual member of the team is very important. However, the perception, attention, and sensation of the different members of the team differ with each individual. When each member of the team knows the varying perception, attention, and sensation abilities of the other individuals in the team, communication within the team becomes easy and efficient. These are barriers to communication and might be very dangerous to a team if not well taken care of. If these barriers in different individuals are detected early enough, some measures can be taken that will be used to prevent the dangers that these barriers cause to communication within the team. This paper seeks to analyze the team member’s auditory threshold, the relative dichotic listening or cocktail party effect of each team member, divided attention, and sensory perception problems.

Auditory Threshold

By definition, auditory threshold is the lowest intensity that a standard ear can detect a sound. Each team member in the team has a different ability of detecting a sound. Several factors are known to affect the ability of an individual to detect a sound or an auditory stimulus. The two mostly accepted factors that play an important role in determining the ability of the team member to detect a sound are the personal and environmental factors. Auditory interruptions such as the background noise and the location of the team member fall under the category of the environmental factors. The location of the team member with reference to the source of the sound plays an important role on the ability of the team member to detect the auditory stimuli. If a sound is coming directly from the source following a straight line to the team member, this team member is more likely to detect the sound than another team member who is blocked by some wall even if the two have the same hearing capacities. On the issue of the background noise, an individual who is listening to a source of some information in the presence of some background noise is more likely to be disrupted by the background noise than another one who is listening to the same message and of the same intensity in absence of the background noise. Among the personal factors are the physical hearing loss, medical issues, fatigue, etc. Physical hearing loss covers cases whereby an individual is incapable of detecting any auditory stimuli

Sensation, Perception, and Attention

simply because his or her ears do not have the capacity to do so. Physical hearing loss leads to total deafness where the affected individual cannot detect any sounds regardless of the intensity of the sound. Medical issues define a case where an individual has problems in detecting an auditory stimulus because of some complications in the individual’s hearing organ. Any damage to an individual’s ear(s) especially the internal parts of the ear brings about medical complications. Fatigue is a case where one is so tired that he or she cannot divert his or her energy in any other direction and his or her concentration is greatly reduced. A relaxed person will more likely detect a sound if placed at the same position with an individual who is fatigued when all other conditions held constant. If an individual is listening to some sound and some other sounds come from the background, this individual is distracted and this causes divided attention (Jan, 2008). The memory of the person listening to the message is reduced and the communication is also negatively affected. For a team meeting to effective, it is therefore important for the team members of a team to be prepared for the meeting both mentally and physically and in addition ensure minimum distractions as the meeting is in progress.

Dichotic Listening and the Cocktail Party Effect

The cocktail party effect addresses the ability of an individual to focus his or her listening attention to one source of information in the presence of many sources and some background information. This means that the individual has to ignore all other sources of information and concentrate on one source. Dichotic listening on the other hand addresses the issue of selective listening whereby an individual is able to listen to some information coming from two different sources simultaneously. Many individuals generally have low dichotic listening skills but may be at one instance or the other, most individuals are capable of listening to two sources simultaneously. The cocktail party effect have a negative effect on the concentration of an individual and consequently on the conversation. This is because it causes divided attention thereby the individual is unable to concentrate at any one conversation fully. If an individual is listening to only one source of information and there are no disruptions, there is a high likelihood that this person will give all his or her attention to this one source and he or she will be able to get and retain almost all the information if not all (Mary, 2008). The best conversation is the one where a person has maximum concentration in the absence of distractions. However, some individuals have the capacity to do several tasks at the same time and they perform equally well while taking two tasks at the same time. The situations that are being combined also matter a lot since if one situation requires more attention than the other, a distraction by audio or visual stimuli will definitely mean confusion.

Sensation, Perception, and Attention

Divided Attention

Divided attention comes in when an individual is required to pay attention to two or more stimuli at the same time. The ability of an individual to multi-task, adjust, and learn either in the absence of distractions or in the presence of distractions matters a lot to learning individual. Divided attention can be harmful to an individual as it can lead to illness and fatigue. Divided attention could also be distractive especially in conference call meetings since one is required to participate in turn and ones attention is split into more than one areas, he or she is likely to lose focus of one. If the work environment is very noisy, the individuals working in these conditions risk the likelihood of hearing loss (Mary, 2008). Divided attention could also lead to perceptual difficulties if the individuals are actively involved in multi-tasks (John, 2006). Too much exposure to loud noise causes damage in the inner tissues of the ear and this could lead to hearing loss. Our ability to pay attention to all what we hear, concentrate on the message, and the way we perceive it depends on our physical and mental health.

Sensory Perception Problem if the Team were meeting Face-to-Face

If the members of the team were meeting face-to-face, the sensory perception would be distracted since the team members this time round could have eye contact with each other which is a cause of distraction. The individuals so far know that the different members have different recommendations and needs. This could greatly affect the concentration of the individuals in the meetings since they have different perceptions, sensations, and attention to learning.


To ensure maximum concentration and avoid disruptions, each member of the team should ensure that the environment where he or she will be attending his or her meeting is quiet and clean. Anything that could cause divided attention should be avoided. These could include members of the family, animals in the area, loud music from systems, television sets, etc. This way the undivided attention of every individual will be present during the meeting and all that is said will be understood and perceived in the right manner. The individuals should also ensure

Sensation, Perception, and Attention

that their physical and mental health status is okay so that they could give maximum concentration to all that is said.


The sensation, perception and attention of an individual in a meeting are very important as it determines what that person gets in the meeting. The ability of a person to hear a statement is affected by both environmental and personal factors. The ability of an individual to concentrate on one issue in presence of many others depends on the individual but it is not very common. Also, the ability of an individual to pay attention to two events and concentrate on both of them depends on the individual. Two or more sources of sounds cause divided attention thus reducing the ability of the individual to concentrate on any one of the sources. The successes of any teams depend very much on the effectiveness of the communication between the different members of the team.


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John, A. R. (2006). Effects of Divided Attention on Source Memory for Modality with Visual and Auditory Stimuli.

Mary, S. (2008). Noise-Induced Hearing Loss. Retrieved from

e-library/content=P00458 on 10-September-09.