In this paper, we present an intrinsic motivation approach applied to haptics in robotics for tactile object exploration and recognition. Here, touch is used as the sensation process for contact detection, whilst proprioceptive information is used for the perception process. First, a probabilistic method is employed to reduce uncertainty present in tactile measurements. Second, the object exploration process is actively controlled by intelligently moving the robot hand towards interesting locations. The active behaviour performed with the robotic hand is achieved by an intrinsic motivation approach, which permitted to improve the accuracy for object recognition over the results obtained by a fixed sequence of exploration movements. The proposed method was validated in a simulated environment with a Monte Carlo method, whilst for the real environment a three-fingered robotic hand and various object shapes were employed. The results demonstrate that our method is robust and suitable for haptic perception in autonomous robotics.