- Abstract We introduce and analyze the physics of “driving reversal” experiments. These are prototype wavepacket dynamics scenarios probing quantum irreversibility. Unlike the mostly hypothetical “time reversal” concept, a “driving reversal” scenario can be realized in a laboratory experiment, and is relevant to the theory of quantum dissipation. We study both the energy spreading and the survival probability in such experiments. We also introduce and study the “compensation time”(time of maximum return) in such a scenario. Extensive effort is devoted to figuring out the capability of either linear response theory or random matrix theory (RMT) to describe specific features of the time evolution. We explain that RMT modeling leads to a strong non-perturbative response effect that differs from the semiclassical behavior.