• Naomi Weisstein
Part of the Handbook of Sensory Physiology book series (SENSORY, volume 7 / 4)


The term visual masking refers to events that occur when two or more stimuli are presented close to each other in time and space (see reviews by Kahneman, 1968, and Raab, 1963; also see Boynton, 1961, and Boynton, chapter 9, this volume). The threshold of one of the stimuli (the target) is raised, or, if the target presentation is suprathreshold, its appearance is changed, by the presence of another stimulus (the mask). The masking stimulus can be presented before, during, or after presentation of the target. What distinguishes masking from other psychophysical effects (such as brightness contrast) is that initia] transients, as opposed to steady-state responses, are measured. Thus, target and/or masks are of brief duration, and the interval between their onsets is a small one. The term forward masking has been used when the mask onset precedes the target onset; the term backward masking has been used when the mask onset follows the target onset. The interval between target and mask onsets will be designated Δt; — Δt will indicate forward masking, and +Δt will indicate backward masking.


Apparent Movement Visual Masking Target Luminance Apparent Brightness Visual Storage 
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© Springer-Verlag, Berlin · Heidelberg 1972

Authors and Affiliations

  • Naomi Weisstein
    • 1
  1. 1.ChicagoUSA

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