CA1 field potentials evoked by Schaffer collateral stimulation of hippocampal slices from trace-conditioned rabbits were compared with those from naive and pseudo-conditioned controls. Conditioned rabbits received 80 trace conditioning trials daily until reaching a criterion of 80% conditioned responses in a session. Hippocampal slices were prepared 1 or 24 h after reaching criterion (for trace-conditioned animals) or after a final unpaired stimulus session (for pseudo-conditioned animals); naive animals were untrained. Both somatic and dendritic field potentials were recorded in response to various stimulus durations. Recording and data reduction were performed blind to the conditioning state of the rabbit. The excitatory postsynaptic potential slope was greater in slices prepared from trace-conditioned animals killed 1 h after conditioning than in naive and pseudo-conditioned controls (repeated-measures analysis of variance, F = 4.250, P < 0.05). Associative learning specifically enhanced synaptic transmission between CA3 and CA1 immediately after training. This effect was not evident in the population field potential measured 24 h later.