: The role of the pineal gland and its hormone-melatonin-as to the impact of vasopressin (VP) and/or oxytocin (OT) on the regulation of behavior was studied, the passive avoidance task being chosen as an experimental model. The results showed that VP facilitated the avoidance latency during the first retention trial; after pinealectomy, however, VP was ineffective in this regard. Intraperitoneal application of OT was ineffective in modifying the passive avoidance latency when compared with respective saline-treated animals. Melatonin alone, when injected to shamoperated animals 30 min before behavioral experiment, did not affect the passive avoidance response in SA- or OT-treated rats, but blocked the VP-induced lengthening of the passive avoidance latency in the first retention trial. In pinealectomized and OT-treated animals the passive avoidance latency during the second retention trial was severely diminished by melatonin when compared to respective control. We conclude that: a) VP needs a regulated pineal function for developing short-term effects on the passive avoidance response and b) the effect of OT on the avoidance latency in pinealectomized rats develops after melatonin treatment as a long-term effect.