The serotonergic system has a broad influence on behavior, but its specific contribution to novel object exploration remains to be examined. Toward this end, we assessed the impact of the 5-HT1A agonist, 8-OHDPAT (0.01–0.05 mg/kg) and the 5-HT1A antagonist, WAY-100635 (0.01–0.05 mg/kg) on novel object exploration in a familiar open-field environment. 8-OHDPAT produced a dose-related inhibition of responding to the novel object, whereas, WAY-100635 treatment induced a dose-related increase in the investigatory response to the novel object. Combined, the effects of WAY and 8-OHDPAT treatments were statistically indistinguishable from saline. In terms of locomotor activity, only the highest dose of 8-OHDPAT (0.05 mg/kg) altered locomotor activity and the effect was inhibitory. These findings provide evidence for an involvement of the serotonergic system in the response to novel stimuli and indicate that this effect can be dissociated from effects on overall activity including locomotor, rearing and grooming behaviors.