In an attempt to extend and validate Garcia-Sevilla's (1974) hypothesis proposing ambulation in a non-stressful open field (OF) as an animal analogue of human extraversion, ambulatory behaviour and rearing behaviour were studied and compared in several experiments with genetically-unselected rats. The effects of variation of OF auditory stimulation level, the correlation with a two-way avoidance-learning situation and the effects of a stimulant dose of d-amphetamine and an anxiolytic one of diazepam upon rearing and ambulatory behaviours were studied. All in all, our results support some of the requirements of the hypothesis, but also generate some additional problems. The results show that the number of rearings could be a better and more sensitive measure of variations in the level of arousal and a better predictor of shuttle-avoidance conditioning than ambulation. However, all activity measures are at least moderately intercorrelated, and they become grouped when results are factor analysed. All the results are discussed with reference to Eysenck's personality theory and Gray's anxiety theory, and it is concluded that these measures are too multidetermined and too poorly controlled to represent correctly and in a direct form a personality dimension such as Extraversion. Anyway, this attempt could be a good point of departure for discovering more efficient animal behavioural measures of arousability. © 1985.