Adult male rats spend a great amount of time investigating novel juveniles. In contrast, rats re-exposed to the same juvenile 30 min after the initial exposure display little investigatory behavior. If the re-exposure occurs 2 h later, the juvenile is thoroughly investigated. These results have been interpreted to mean that rats form a transient memory for a particular juvenile. In the present study, memory was enhanced when the initial exposure to the juvenile was followed by another exposure to the same juvenile (retroactive facilitation) and impaired when exposure to the original juvenile was followed by exposure to another juvenile (retroactive interference). Arginine vasopressin had retroactive facilitating effects on social memory and these effects were blocked by the vasopressor antagonist dPTyr(Me)AVP. Moreover, the antagonist had retroactive interfering effects, since it impaired the recognition of a familiar juvenile. Oxytocin shared the same inhibitory pattern of action. These results suggest that neurohypophyseal peptides may have a prepotent role in modulating the mnemonic processing of chemosensory information associated with social interactions.