Previous work in rats (Ader, R. and De Wied, D., Psychon. Sci., 29 (1972) 46-48) has established that subcutaneously (s.c.) injected arginine vasopressin (AVP) prolongs extinction of active avoidance and that this effect could be prevented by pretreatment with the vasopressin antagonist analog [1-deaminopenicillamine, 2-(O-methyl)tyrosine]-beta-arginine vasopressin (dPtyr(Me)AVP). The purpose of the present study was to determine if peripherally administered AVP acts via a peripheral blood pressure effect or by a direct action in the central nervous system. We therefore tested the effects of the antagonist injected intracerebroventricularly (i.c.v.) on the prolongation of active avoidance and on blood pressure effects of s.c. injected AVP. The antagonist (i.c.v.) blocked the behavioral effects of systemically injected AVP only at dose sufficient to block the peripherally mediated pressor response of systemically administered AVP. The results show that peripherally injected AVP acts on peripheral systems and support our hypothesis that the peripheral visceral action of AVP contributed significantly to its behavioral action.