The tentacle withdrawal reflex of the terrestrial snail Helix aspersa was studied in vitro. The reflex is evoked by mechanical stimulation of the nose. Lesion experiments showed that 45% to 75% of the response amplitude is attributable to peripheral pathways alone. The central contribution increases with increasing stimulus intensity. Repeated stimulation produced pure habituation at low stimulus strengths, and habituation mixed with intrinsic sensitization (warm-up effect) at high stimulus strengths. The simultaneous occurrence of habituation and sensitization is consistent with the dual process theory of plasticity. Additional results differentiate the two processes. Habituation can occur without the CNS, whereas intrinsic sensitization requires the CNS. Also, the two processes are differentially effective in their influences on response amplitude and duration: habituation is more effective in determining response amplitude, while sensitization is more effective in determining response duration. Although the establishment of sensitization requires the CNS, 81% of the memory for intrinsic sensitization was localized to the periphery, by lesion experiments. Extrinsic sensitization, caused by stimulation of the medial lip nerve, had similar behavioural effects and a similar memory locus. Both types of sensitization appear to be caused by neuromuscular facilitation mediated by a central pathway.