To evaluate the role of somatodendritic 5-HT1A receptors in the mediation of aggressive behaviour, eltoprazine, TFMPP (1-(3-trifluoromethylphenyl)piperazine hydrochloride) and 8-OH-DPAT (8-hydroxy-2-(di-n-propylamino)tetralin) were administered locally into the dorsal raphe nucleus of rats. 8-OH-DPAT (1 and 10 micrograms) and eltoprazine (10 and 30 micrograms) reduced aggression, but concomitantly reduced social interest and increased inactivity. TFMPP (1 and 10 micrograms) did not reduce aggression. As 8-OH-DPAT and to a lesser extent eltoprazine affect 5-HT1A receptors, it is proposed that a general reduction of serotonergic neurotransmission by activation of somatodendritic serotonergic autoreceptor leads to a non-specific reduction of aggression. As TFMPP has a significantly lower affinity for 5-HT1A receptors than 8-OH-DPAT or eltoprazine, the lack of effect of TFMPP supports this view.