The hippocampus has been implicated in the regulation of anxiety and memory processes. Nevertheless, the precise contribution of its ventral (VH) and dorsal (DH) division in these issues still remains a matter of debate. The Trial 1/2 protocol in the elevated plus-maze (EPM) is a suitable approach to assess features associated with anxiety and memory. Information about the spatial environment on initial (Trial 1) exploration leads to a subsequent increase in open-arm avoidance during retesting (Trial 2). The objective of the present study was to investigate whether transient VH or DH deactivation by lidocaine microinfusion would differently interfere with the performance of EPM-naive and EPM-experienced rats. Male Wistar rats were bilaterally-implanted with guide cannulas aimed at the VH or the DH. One-week after surgery, they received vehicle or lidocaine 2.0% in 1.0 microL (0.5 microL per side) at pre-Trial 1, post-Trial 1 or pre-Trial 2. There was an increase in open-arm exploration after the intra-VH lidocaine injection on Trial 1. Intra-DH pre-Trial 2 administration of lidocaine also reduced the open-arm avoidance. No significant changes were observed in enclosed-arm entries, an EPM index of general exploratory activity. The cautious exploration of potentially dangerous environment requires VH functional integrity, suggesting a specific role for this region in modulating anxiety-related behaviors. With regard to the DH, it may be preferentially involved in learning and memory since the acquired response of inhibitory avoidance was no longer observed when lidocaine was injected pre-Trial 2.