The aim of this work was to assess the effect of lesions of the intergeniculate leaflet on nonphotic phase shifts produced by confining hamsters to novel running wheels for 3 h in the middle of the subjective day. In intact hamsters this procedure produces large phase advances provided that the hamsters maintain high levels of wheel running during the confinement. Intergeniculate leaflet lesions blocked or reduced phase shifts after confinement to a novel wheel. However, for most animals these lesions also reduced both the amount of activity during the 3 h pulse in the novel wheel and the amount of daily wheel running in the home cage. To boost activity of lesioned hamsters to levels associated with large phase shifts, the animals were confined to novel wheels at low ambient temperature. The lesioned hamsters still failed to show large phase shifts. The benzodiazepine triazolam also failed to induce phase shifts in lesioned animals, but it induced less activity in lesioned animals as compared to sham-operated controls. The data support the hypothesis that the intergeniculate leaflet conveys information about nonphotic phase-shifting to the circadian pacemaker in the suprachiasmatic nucleus. They also raise the possibility that some effects of intergeniculate leaflet lesions previously interpreted as having a photic basis, might be due to the activity-lowering effect of the lesions.