Electroconvulsive shock (ECS) has anticonvulsant properties while a proconvulsant effect has not, so far, been documented. In the present experiments, we determine whether repeated ECSs lead to an increased seizure susceptibility to lidocaine (lignocaine) in rats. Furthermore, we investigated whether ECS will cause prolonged changes in the locomotion and exploratory activity of the animals. Two groups of rats received 18 ECSs: the first group (ECS-WEEKLY) was given ECS once a week, the second (ECS-DAILY) once a day. A third group (ECS-SHAM) received only sham ECS. Five, as well as 10 weeks after the last ECS, the ECS-WEEKLY group made significantly fewer "hole visits" in an eight hole box than did the ECS-SHAM group. The ECS-DAILY group also made fewer hole visits than the ECS-SHAM group, but the difference was only significant ten weeks after the last ECS. No significant difference in locomotor activity was found. Twelve weeks after the last ECS, all rats received an injection of a high dose of lidocaine (65 mg/kg i.p.). ECS was observed to have a significant effect on the number of animals convulsing in response to the lidocaine challenge. Sixty percent (6/10) of the animals in the ECS-WEEKLY group and 20% (2/10) of those in the ECS-DAILY group convulsed, whereas none of the animals (0/12) in the ECS-SHAM group had convulsions. Thus, the present study shows that ECS may induce prolonged changes in the exploratory behaviour of rats and in their sensitivity to the convulsant effects of lidocaine.