The C. elegans mutants, lrn-1 and lrn-2, are impaired in associative learning using conditioned taste cues. Both mutants are defective in associative learning about appetitive and aversive events, indicating that lrn-1 and lrn-2 exert effects across motivational boundaries. In a new olfactory associative learning paradigm, in which wild type worms learn to avoid a previously attractive diacetyl odor after it has been paired with an aversive acetic acid solution, lrn-1 and lrn-2 are impaired. Although defective in associative learning using a conditioned olfactory cue, nonassociative learning (habituation and dishabituation) using this same olfactory cue is unaffected. The discovery that lrn-1 and lrn-2 are defective in associative learning with both taste and olfactory cues may suggest that associative learning in different sensory modalities converges on a common genetic pathway in C. elegans that is subserved by lrn-1 and lrn-2.