Abstract To determine whether recruiting responses (RRs) would adversely affect learning or learned behavior, squirrel monkeys were trained to respond to bilateral stimulation of nucleus centrum medianum at 6–8/sec by making a lever-pressing conditioned response (CR) to avoid cutaneous shocks. The thalamic stimulation produced large amplitude RRs throughout dorsal neocortex anterior to the central sulcus, including the sensorimotor cortical representation of the arm used to make the CR. Interference with learning or behavior was minimal or nil. CRs were made consistently with the hand contralateral to the hemisphere manifesting the smallest amplitude RRs, but if forced to do so the monkeys could use the other hand without apparent difficulty or abatement of RRs. Fluctuations observed in amplitude or RRs at various stages of learning and performance reflect alteration in degree of arousal.