Rats were tested in a simple one-trial water-finding task for the effects of arginine vasopressin (AVP) on performance of an appetitive task. On the training day, each animal was exposed for 5 min to a novel open-field environment that contained a water-tube located in an alcove set into one of the walls of the enclosure. Immediately upon removal from the enclosure, the animals received a subcutaneous injection of either AVP (1 microgram/rat) or vehicle solution. When water-deprived and tested 48 hr later, vasopressin-treated rats found the water tube reliably faster than controls. In other groups of animals, this potentiation in learned performance was prevented by concurrently treating the rats with a vasopressin analog having potent pressor antagonist properties. These results are consistent with the notion that vasopressin may play a role in memory consolidation, but peripheral visceral factors may mediate this action.