We have reported previously that exposure to environmental novelty enhances the behavioral activating effects of amphetamine and its ability to induce the immediate early gene c-fos in the striatum and in other brain regions. In the present study, we used double in situ hybridization histochemistry to study the effect of amphetamine and/or novelty on c-fos expression in two populations of striatal neurons that preferentially express either D1 or D2 dopamine receptor mRNA. When given intraperitoneally to rats in their home cage, amphetamine (2.0 mg/kg) increased c-fos expression only in D1 neurons. In contrast, when the same dose of amphetamine was administered to rats in a novel environment, c-fos was increased in both D1 and D2 neurons. We conclude that the neural populations engaged by amphetamine vary as a function of the circumstances surrounding its administration.