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Electrostriction plays a central role in describing the electromechanical properties of ferroelectric materials, including widely used piezoelectric ceramics. The piezoelectric properties are closely related to the underlying electrostriction. Small-field piezoelectric properties can be described as electrostriction offset by the remanent polarization which characterizes the ferroelectric state. Indeed, even large-field piezoelectric effects are accurately accounted for by quadratic electrostriction. However, the electromechanical properties deviate from this simple electrostrictive description at electric fields near the coercive field. This is particularly important for actuator applications, for which very high electromechanical coupling can be obtained in this region. This paper presents the results of an experimental study of electromechanical coupling in piezoelectric ceramics at electric field strengths close to the coercive field, and the effects of temperature on electromechanical processes during polarization reversal. The roles of intrinsic ferroelectric strain coupling and extrinsic domain processes and their temperature dependence in determining the electromechanical response are discussed.