This study examined the relationship between orienting responses to novel events and subsequent exploratory behavior. The N2-P3 electrophysiologic component of the orienting response was found to be larger for novel than repetitive background stimuli. Across subjects, the amplitude of this N2-P3 response in frontal regions strongly predicted the proportional increase in the duration of viewing directed toward novel compared to background stimuli. Within subjects, larger N2-P3 amplitudes in response to novel stimuli were associated with longer viewing durations on those stimuli. These results suggest that the N2-P3 component of the orienting response reflects the activity of a neural system involving frontal networks that dynamically regulates the subsequent allocation of attentional resources to novel stimuli.