The effects of lesions in the centromedial and basolateral amygdala were examined using three different tests sensitive to the following stress-related responses: exploratory behavior, pain reactivity, and immune responses. The most clear-cut results were found with exploratory behavior. Rats with lesions of the centromedial amygdala tended to explore a radial-arm maze more quickly and entered more novel arms of the maze than controls. Those with lesions of the basolateral amygdala were generally too hesitant to explore at all. No significant differences were found between groups on measurements of natural killer cell activity. In tests of pain perception, rats in the control group displayed an analgesic response on the hot plate following an injection of the anxiogenic drug, RO 15-1788, whereas rats with centromedial lesions tended to exhibit a blunted response. These findings provide modest support for the view that the central and lateral regions of the amygdala play complementary roles in aversively motivated behaviors and in stress-related response patterns.