In science, a few areas particularly capture the imagination because of a combination of excitement, substantial technical progress, and implicit significance in affecting the nature and quality of life. Perhaps no area of science exhibits these characteristics more abundantly than that dealing with the brain. Once shrouded in the mystical, studies in modem brain science are dramatically enhancing our understanding of brain function and its impact on learning and memory. It is perhaps the union of pragmatic and mystical aspects that makes this such an exciting arena of science. The Office of Naval Research (ONR) began an intensive effort in 1983 on the topic of the neural basis for learning and memory. This effort was aimed at providing the scientific understanding of how learning takes place. It is the expectation that a neurological understanding of learning processes will lead to the formulation of learning strategies that will significantly enhance performance. This is important in a civilian and military population faced with serious manpower problems requiring a few individuals to be more expert with technologically intensive systems. With these motivations in mind, two of us (EJW and RN) formulated a full-day symposium at the AAAS annual meeting held in New York, May 1984.