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A mechanism for the switching behavior of (111)-oriented Pb(Zr, Ti)O3-based 1 × 1.5 μm2 capacitors has been investigated using three-dimensional piezoresponse force microscopy (3D-PFM). A combination of vertical and lateral piezoresponse force microscopy (VPFM and LPFM) has been used to map the out-of-plane and the in-plane components of the polarization. The three-dimensional polarization distribution was reconstructed by quantitative analysis of the PFM amplitude images of poled PZT capacitors while taking into account contrast variations in the PFM phase images. The switching behavior of the capacitors was determined by comparison of the static domain patterns in the same capacitors after both positive and negative poling. While 180° switching was observed, surprisingly, the switching process was dominated by 90° polarization vector rotation. Furthermore, central regions of the capacitors were characterized by the presence of charged domain boundaries, which could lead to imprint (preference of one polarization state over another).