[en] The excitatory conditioning model of contextual sensitisation proposes that the progressive emergence of the locomotion-activating effect of cocaine (or any other stimulant drug) characterising that phenomenon is due to a growing conditioned response (the test context cues) that mimics the unchanging unconditioned response (the drug effect). The present study aimed at verifying whether the relationship between the amplitude of sensitisation and the size of the conditioned response was positive, a direct implication of that view. Sensitisation to the locomotion-activating effect of cocaine (10 mg/kg, s.c.) was firstly generated over 10 daily sessions in 25 mice (strain C57131/6J), another lot of 25 mice receiving the same dose of cocaine outside of the testing context. Conditioned locomotion was assessed 24 h later. No significant linear correlations were found between the magnitude of the conditioned response and the magnitude of the sensitised response (delta scores), the rate of sensitisation (individual regression coefficients) or the magnitude of the initial unconditioned response to cocaine (scores in the first session of sensitisation treatment). Accordingly, there was no significant correlation between the magnitude of the initial unconditioned response and the magnitude of the sensitised response or that of the initial unconditioned response. Therefore, the conditioned response is neither necessary nor sufficient for the development of context-dependent sensitisation of the locomotion-activating effect of cocaine, a conclusion that refutes the excitatory conditioning model of that chronic effect. (C) 2003 Elsevier B.V./ECNP. All rights reserved.