Several experiments investigated the involvement of D1 and D2 dopamine receptors in the ventral striatum in the control over behaviour by a conditioned reinforcer using an acquisition of new response procedure. Intra-accumbens infusion of either the D1 receptor antagonist, SCH 23390, or the D2 receptor antagonist, raclopride, completely blocked the potentiative effects of intra-accumbens d-amphetamine on responding with conditioned reinforcement and reduced responding to control levels. SCH 23390 was more potent than raclopride. At higher doses in the absence of d-amphetamine, both antagonists also blocked the preference for responding on the lever producing the conditioned reinforcer. Intra-accumbens infusions of either the D1 receptor agonist, SKF 38393, or the D2/3 receptor agonist, LY 171555 (quinpirole), selectively potentiated responding on the lever producing the conditioned reinforcer. Various combined infusions of the D1 and D2 agonists in specific low doses had additive, but not synergistic, effects on responding with conditioned reinforcement. None of the drugs affected the drinking of water in deprived subjects when infused intra-accumbens. These results suggest that both D1 and D2 receptors in the nucleus accumbens are involved in mediating the effects of dopamine in potentiating the control over behaviour by conditioned reinforcers.