Rats with a bilateral lesion of the olfactory bulb are permanently anosmic. However, this lesion also produces nonspecific behavioral effects that recover over time. In this study olfactory bulb-lesioned animals are given a spatial orientation task--the Morris maze--which supposedly relies on visual and not olfactory cues. In exp. 1 this assumption was verified by subjecting animals with peripherally induced anosmia to the Morris maze (olfactory neurons in the nasal mucosae were destroyed by flushing the nose with ZnSO4). Anosmia did not affect the acquisition rate of the animals. In exp. 2 anosmia was produced by a central lesion to the bulbus olfactorius. Two weeks after lesioning the Morris maze performance is severely impaired. Interestingly, chronic administration (10 micrograms/48 h/rat, during these 14 days, SC) of the ACTH(4-9) analog ORG 2766 diminished the impairment in performance. In exp. 3 olfactory bulb-lesioned animals were allowed 6 wk to recover before Morris maze testing began, to investigate if spontaneous recovery of performance occurred. No difference was seen in the acquisition performance of lesioned animals when compared to sham animals at this timepoint. The effect of the peptide is discussed in the context of an acceleration of the recovery of nonspecific consequences of brain lesioning.