The involvement of the amygdala in the potentiation of responding for conditioned reinforcers following intra-accumbens amphetamine injections has been studied. Thirsty rats were trained to associate a light-noise compound stimulus with water and then implanted with guide cannulae in the nucleus accumbens. Half of these rats received excitotoxic lesions of the basolateral region of the amygdala by accumbens. Half of these rats received excitotoxic lesions of the basolateral region of the amygdala by infusing N-methyl-D-aspartate, whereas the other half received infusions of the vehicle. In the test phase, water was no longer presented but responding on one of two novel levers produced the light-noise compound (the conditioned reinforcer) whereas responding on the other lever had no effect. The two groups received four counterbalanced intra-accumbens infusions of amphetamine (3, 10 and 30 micrograms /microliter) or vehicle over four test days. Intra-accumbens amphetamine infusions dose-dependently increased responding on the lever providing a conditioned reinforcer but had no significant effect on responding on the lever which did not produce the conditioned reinforcer. Compared with controls, the lesioned group exhibited a significant, selective reduction in responding on the lever providing a conditioned reinforcer, with no change on the lever on which responding had no consequence, irrespective of drug or control treatment. Control experiments showed that the amygdala lesioned animals were not hypodipsic and exhibited similar levels of hyperactivity following intra-accumbens infusions of D-amphetamine. Furthermore, the capacity to discriminate the conditioned stimulus as well as to acquire a new motor task was not altered by the lesion. These results indicate a role for the amygdala in mediating the effects of stimulus-reward associations on behaviour, via an action on dopamine-dependent mechanisms of the ventral striatum.