This symposium focuses on global problems associated with the concept of the orienting response (OR) and its elicitation, in order to provide a framework for future research and theory development. Papers by Barry, O'Gorman, Maltzman, Latash, and Tremayne and Barry address a range of issues of current interest in the field. Sokolov, the father of modern work on the OR, provides a commentary on each of these papers, together with a final paper outlining the development of the OR in his work, and his view of future directions in OR research. Together, these papers provide a unique perspective on the OR field at the end of the 1980s. © 1990 Springer.