I've run into this concept of 'screening' several times before, but I admit I've never sat down and really thought about why the process works. My understanding of the effect is that mobile electric charge carriers (say in a fluid) are able to arrange themselves in such a way that reduces or effectively cancels out the charge from a particular particle at a large distance. To quote wikipedia:
"For example, consider a fluid composed of electrons. Each electron possesses an electric field which repels other electrons. As a result, it is surrounded by a region in which the density of electrons is lower than usual. This region can be treated as a positively-charged "screening hole". Viewed from a large distance, this screening hole has the effect of an overlaid positive charge which cancels the electric field produced by the electron. Only at short distances, inside the hole region, can the electron's field be detected."
I really struggle to see what is happening here: how can a region of relative neutrality 'cancel out' the field of an electron?
Any help, insights, or suggestions for further reading would be greatly appreciated.