The ventral pallidum (VP) is often viewed as an output structure of the nucleus accumbens septi (NAS). However, VP, like NAS, receives a dopaminergic input from the ventral tegmental area. These experiments investigated some behavioral effects of microinjection into VP of drugs which enhance dopaminergic transmission. Injection of 25 micrograms dopamine or 5-10 micrograms amphetamine into VP produced hypermotility. In contrast, injection of 12.5-50 micrograms cocaine initially suppressed, then increased, activity. Injection of 100 micrograms cocaine only produced hypomotility in the 1-h period examined. The hypomotility following cocaine seemed to be a local anesthetic effect, because it was mimicked by 50-200 micrograms procaine. Procaine did not, however, produce subsequent hypermotility. Conditioned place preference (CPP) was produced by 10 micrograms amphetamine and 50 micrograms cocaine but not 100 micrograms procaine. We conclude that injection of cocaine into VP unlike similar injections into NAS, produces CPP. These results support the idea of an involvement of dopamine in VP in reward and locomotor activation, independent of dopamine in NAS. The use of intracerebral injections of cocaine is complicated, however, by an apparent local anesthetic effect of the drug.