Benzothieno[2,3-c]pyridines (10a-c, 11, 12a-t, and 13a,b) and 1,2,3,4-tetrahydrobenzothieno[2,3-c]pyridines (3a-c, 7, 8a-c, and 9) were synthesized. The compounds are bioisosteres of beta-carbolines and 1,2,3,4-tetrahydro-beta-carbolines where the indole nitrogen is replaced by sulfur. Their pharmacological activity was evaluated in a water lick conflict test in rats and a passive avoidance test in mice. In the 1,2,3,4-tetrahydrobenzothieno[2,3-c]pyridine series, the presence of ethyl ester (3b) or cyclohexyl carboxamide (7) groups at C-3 conferred good anticonflict activity and lessening of memory impairment, while N-acylation of 3b abolished activity. In the benzothieno(2,3-c]pyridine series, the aminoethyl carboxamide (12a) group at C-3 also conferred activity, but other amides studied were not active. The most potent compounds (3b, 7, and 12a) were also administered orally and had potent anticonflict and antiscopolamine amnesia-reversal activity. These compounds did not bind to the BZP receptor in spite of having structures similar to those of beta-carbolines. Compound 7 bound strongly to 5-HT1A receptors and would be expected to be a novel anxiolytic.