Extracellular levels of dopamine (DA) and its metabolites were monitored with the in vivo microdialysis method in the amygdala of rats while and after they performed a discrimination learning task or a non-discrimination task. A group of rats was trained to discriminate between lamp-on and lamp-off states under an operant-type learning procedure. After a stable discriminative behavior was established, a dialysis probe was inserted into the basolateral amygdaloid nucleus of each rat. The concentrations of DA and its metabolite 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetic acid significantly increased during the learning sessions as compared to their basal levels. In contrast, another group of rats trained on a similar, but non-discriminative task showed no such increases. These results suggest that the dopaminergic neural systems in the basolateral amygdaloid nucleus are activated during ongoing behavior maintained under the discrimination learning situation.