The spreading or nonspreading of wave packets in one‐dimensional linear and quadratic potentials can readily be determined by solving Ehrenfest’s equations. The results for quadratic potentials can be understood in simple intuitive terms by using quantum distribution functions in phase space which, like classical distributions, rotate clocklike in time once per motional cycle. For more complicated situations, such as potentials with quantum energy spacings which are integral multiples of a basic unit, much can be learned instead by studying the quantum recurrence of their time‐dependent wave functions or probability densities.

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