The relative behavioral effectiveness of heavy particles was evaluated. Using the taste aversion paradigm in rats, the behavioral toxicity of most types of radiation (including 20Ne and 40Ar) was similar to that of 60Co photons. Only 56Fe and 93Nb particles and fission neutrons were significantly more effective. Using emesis in ferrets as the behavioral endpoint, 56Fe particles and neutrons were again the most effective; however, 60Co photons were significantly more effective than 18 MeV electrons. These results suggest that LET does not completely predict behavioral effectiveness. Additionally, exposing rats to 10 cGy of 56Fe particles attenuated amphetamine-induced taste aversion learning. This behavior is one of a broad class of behaviors which depends on the integrity of the dopaminergic system and suggests the possibility of alterations in these behaviors following exposure to heavy particles in a space radiation environment.