Much of the current interest in the hippocampus concerns a rapid and persistent form of synaptic plasticity, called long-term potentiation (LTP), that is a candidate substrate for some of the mnemonic functions of this structure. There are at least two kinds of LTP in the hippocampus. One form is found at the synapse between the mossy fibers of the granule cells and the pyramidal neurons of the CA3 region. Attempts to examine the mechanism underlying this form of LTP have yielded contradictory conclusions. The authors show how the complex circuitry of the dentate gyrus and adjacent hippocampus may have caused the contradictions. To overcome problems introduced by the circuitry, a specific set of procedures and criteria for evoking and identifying mossy fiber responses is proposed. Use of these or similar procedures and criteria will improve the design and interpretation of experiments on mossy fiber LTP and allow more informative comparisons among species and brain regions and across laboratories.