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The switching mechanism of the bipolar resistive switching behavior on NiO films was examined using local probe based measurements. Unlike the unipolar switching normally observed on a metal-insulator-metal structure, repetitive bipolar switching was observed on NiO films when a local probe was used as the top electrode. Surface potential and current maps obtained after the anodic/cathodic bias application through the scanning probe both in air and under high vacuum suggested that the resistive switching is caused mainly by the electrochemical redox reaction at the electrode-film interface rather than by charge drift within the NiO film.