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Some Comments on Informational Masking


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While informational masking (IM) has been investigated for almost a half century, only recently have there been efforts to develop a principled definition of this class of interference effects among sensory stimuli. This paper briefly reviews the history of IM and discusses some recent efforts toward a definition. Some experiments with tonal patterns are then described that demonstrate close associations between the effects of IM on detection and on discrimination. It is proposed that the varieties of IM revealed in recent research may not all be reasonably attributed to a single explanatory mechanism, even a fairly complex one. At the least, IM effects associated with signal-masker similarity (S) are readily distinguished from those resulting from trial-to-trial stimulus uncertainty (U). A corresponding distinction may usefully be made in definitions and models, dealing separately with "S" and "U" types of IM.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2005

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  • Acta Acustica united with Acustica, published together with the European Acoustics Association (EAA), is an international, peer-reviewed journal on acoustics. It publishes original articles on all subjects in the field of acoustics, such as general linear acoustics, nonlinear acoustics, macrosonics, flow acoustics, atmospheric sound, underwater sound, ultrasonics, physical acoustics, structural acoustics, noise control, active control, environmental noise, building acoustics, room acoustics, acoustic materials, acoustic signal processing, computational and numerical acoustics, hearing, audiology and psychoacoustics, speech, musical acoustics, electroacoustics, auditory quality of systems. It reports on original scientific research in acoustics and on engineering applications. The journal considers scientific papers, technical and applied papers, book reviews, short communications, doctoral thesis abstracts, etc. In irregular intervals also special issues and review articles are published.
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