Modulation of learning and memory is one of the physiological roles that the neuropeptide cholecystokinin (CCK-8) may play. We have used a behavioural model of olfactory recognition among rats to test this hypothesis and to explore the relationship between CCK-A and CCK-B receptors and memory retention. Adult male rats form a transient memory of a juvenile congenere as indicated by a reduction in the duration of investigatory behaviour upon re-exposure 30 min after an initial exposure, but not when re-exposure is delayed until 120 min afterwards. In the present study, rats were treated after the first contact with various compounds; inhibition and facilitation of olfactory recognition were evaluated as the persistence in investigation 30 min and the decrease in investigation 120 min after pharmacological manipulations, respectively. Systemic injection of CCK-8, of a selective CCK-A agonist, or of non-peptide CCK-B antagonists (CI-988 and LY-262691) enhanced olfactory recognition. In contrast, the CCK-B selective agonist BC 264 and the tetrapeptide CCK-4 both disrupted it. Taken together with previous evidence of the detrimental effect of the nonpeptide. CCK-A antagonist devazepide on olfactory recognition, these results confirm and extend the hypothesis that there is a balance between CCK-A-mediated facilitative effects and CCK-B-mediated inhibitory effects on memory retention.