The gap-prepulse inhibition of the acoustic startle (GPIAS) paradigm is the primary test used in animal research to identify gap detection thresholds and impairment. When a silent gap is presented shortly before a loud startling stimulus, the startle reflex is inhibited and the extent of inhibition is assumed to reflect detection. Here, we applied the same paradigm in humans. One hundred and fifty-seven normal-hearing participants were tested using one of five gap durations (5, 25, 50, 100, 200 ms) in one of the following two paradigms-gap-embedded in or gap-following-the continuous background noise. The duration-inhibition relationship was observable for both conditions but followed different patterns. In the gap-embedded paradigm, GPIAS increased significantly with gap duration up to 50 ms and then more slowly up to 200 ms (trend only). In contrast, in the gap-following paradigm, significant inhibition-different from 0--was observable only at gap durations from 50 to 200 ms. The finding that different patterns are found depending on gap position within the background noise is compatible with distinct mechanisms underlying each of the two paradigms.