The pharmacological action of mescaline on goldfish was studied with the Bitterman-Agranoff shock-avoidance test. In short term experiments with high mescaline doses an increase in learning rates was observed. Similar results were obtained with apomorphine and L-dopa. However, when the fish were exposed to smaller mescaline doses (or to fluphenazine) for 3 days, their ability to avoid electric shock was reduced. Apparently, mescaline induced a release of dopamine which stimulated central dopaminergic systems. Subsequently, MAO destroys the liberated dopamine. Thus, the ensuing dopamine deficit appears to be responsible for the marked changes in behavior in the chronic experiment.