The effects of the benzodiazepine antagonist CGS 8216 (2-phenylpyrazolo [4, 3-c] quinoline-3(5H)-one) were examined in a thirsty rat conflict test in the presence and absence of pentobarbital. CGS 8216 (2.5-10 mg/kg i.p.) did not affect nonpunished responding, but doses of 5 and 10 mg/kg significantly reduced the rate of punished responding (i.e., the number of 3 second drinking episodes in a "shock" contingency). However, a dose of CGS 8216 which did not significantly alter punished responding (2.5 mg/kg) antagonized the anticonflict actions of pentobarbital. These observations suggest that while high doses of CGS 8216 may elicit an "anxiogenic" response in rodents, lower doses of CGS 8216 antagonize the anticonflict actions of a compound which has been shown to enhance benzodiazepine affinity in vitro. These data imply that the anticonflict actions of pentobarbital may be mediated through benzodiazepine receptors.