Intensity discrimination under backward masking

C. J. Plack, Neal F Viemeister

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


The Weber fraction was measured for a 25-ms sinusoidal pedestal presented 100 ms before, or 100 ms after, an intense narrow-band noise. Consistent with the finding of Zeng et al. [Hear. Res. 55, 223-230 (1991)], the forward masker caused an elevation in the Weber fraction at medium pedestal levels. Surprisingly, however, a much larger midlevel elevation was observed in the backward masking conditions; in some cases, the Weber fraction was increased by over 20 dB by the backward masker. In both masking conditions, presenting a notched noise simultaneously with the pedestal reduced the magnitude of the midlevel elevation. These results indicate that it is possible to produce large masking effects on intensity discrimination in conditions where there is no possibility of the masker affecting the representation of the pedestal at the level of the auditory nerve. This suggests that there may be 'central' processes underlying the original finding of Zeng et al. Despite the similarities in the results, however, it is not certain that the elevations seen in the forward and backward masking conditions were caused by the same mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3097-3101
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1992


Dive into the research topics of 'Intensity discrimination under backward masking'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this