We propose a novel parameter, namely, the skewness, or asymmetry, of the shape of a receptive field to characterize two properties of hippocampal place fields. First, a majority of hippocampal receptive fields on linear tracks are negatively skewed, such that during a single pass the firing rate is low as the rat enters the field but high as it exits. Second, while the place fields are symmetric at the beginning of a session, they become highly asymmetric with experience. Further experiments suggest that these results are likely to arise due to synaptic plasticity during behavior. Using a purely feed forward neural network model, we show that following repeated directional activation, NMDA-dependent long-term potentiation/long-term depotentiation (LTP/LTD) could result in an experience-dependent asymmetrization of receptive fields.