Corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) is a 41-amino acid polypeptide that is critically involved in the activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary adrenal axis during stress. In addition, it has been suggested that extrahypothalamic CRF may be important in initiating behavioral responses to stressful events. In the present experiment, we examined the effects of central administration of CRF on amphetamine-induced stereotyped behavior. Amphetamine-induced stereotyped behavior has been considered as a behavioral strategy to cope with excessive arousal. Low doses of CRF (0.02 and 0.1 micrograms), administered into the lateral ventricle (ICV), were shown to potentiate amphetamine (4.0 mg/kg; SC)-induced stereotyped behavior, as measured by the Creese and Iversen rating scale and behavioral observations. These low doses of CRF specifically enhanced the tendency for rats to sniff with their heads down 20 min after injection, and induced licking behavior later during testing. In contrast, the rats treated with a higher dose of CRF (0.5 micrograms, ICV) showed more locomotor activity throughout the test, but did not differ from the saline-treated animals in the intensity of amphetamine-induced stereotyped behavior.