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The blocking or suppression of the perception of a stimulus, often called the test stimulus, by the presentation of another stimulus, called the masking stimulus. Complete masking occurs when the test stimulus is not perceived, and partial masking occurs when its absolute threshold is raised or its perceived intensity is reduced by the masking stimulus. The masking effect arises from swamping of the neural activity evoked by the test stimulus and/or suppression of the neural activity that test stimulus would have evoked if presented alone. See also auditory masking, backward masking, binaural unmasking, brightness masking, central masking, critical band, dichoptic masking, inspection time, metacontrast, paracontrast, pattern masking, Perky phe-nomenon, subliminal perception, visual masking.

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